Proper dental care is essential to maintaining your overall well-being. Studies show that poor oral hygiene is directly linked to many common illnesses including dementia, diabetes, cancer, and kidney disease, not to mention an assortment of other life-threatening medical conditions. Considering the variety of illnesses caused by gingivitis and periodontal disease, it is essential to brush and floss daily and visit a dentist regularly for checkups. When looking for dental care Tampa, it is important to decide whether a traditional or holistic dentist is right for your lifestyle.
What Is Holistic Dentistry?
Often referred to as biological dentistry, the holistic approach considers the patient’s emotional and overall physical health when diagnosing, treating, and preventing diseases of the mouth and gums. This alternative type of dentistry focuses on the use of non-toxic chemicals to restore teeth, reduce and eradicate the likelihood of infections, as well as combining complimentary care to promote the structural integrity of the head, jaw, and neck in relation to the teeth.
What Are the Differences in Holistic and Traditional Dentistry?
While conventional or traditional dentists often perform complex, invasive procedures that often involve the use of metals and other chemicals, holistic dentists do not believe in the use of manufactured materials. Instead, those who practice holistic dentistry believe that the many of treatments conducted through conventional dentistry may be detrimental to the patient’s and lead to further health issues.
Conventional dentistry includes the use of mercury amalgam fillings, partly due to their endorsement by the American Dental Association (ADA) as stable and safe. In addition, the fillings are much easier to replace than their composite counterparts and the costs are primarily covered by insurance. On the other hand, holistic dentists do not condone the use of mercury, understand that it is toxic to humans, and even minimal amounts may be a risk to your health. Although mercury often lasts longer than composite and may outlast the actual tooth the material was used to fill, the fillings also apply a great deal of pressure to teeth. The result is weaker teeth that are more susceptible to breakage and decay.
In addition, while traditional dentistry may argue that a root canal is the preferred method to save a severely decayed tooth, proponents of holistic dentistry negate the practice.
According to holistic beliefs, root canals are considered an ineffective remedy for saving damaged teeth. During the procedure, the infected pulp of the tooth is removed, then the canal is cleaned. However, sterilization of the canal of the tooth does not annihilate bacteria in its entirety; holistic dentists believe the treatment is not effective because it is impossible to disinfect the tooth 100%. In addition, the use of harsh chemicals, including formaldehyde, has been linked to further health issues including heart disease and even breast cancer some patients.
The use of fluoride among holistic dentists is a debatable topic. While some believe it is acceptable, others do not. Too much fluoride weakens the enamel of teeth and may also result in fluorosis. This condition identifies toxic levels of fluoride are already in the patient’s system and is characterized by yellow, brown, and sometimes white spots on the teeth. High levels of the chemical have also been linked directly to osteoporosis. However, traditional dentists condone its use since fluoride is thought to reduce the rate of cavities.
What Dentist to Choose?
Since no one knows you better than yourself, only you can answer that. Your teeth should last a lifetime—making an educated decision can make that a reality.