The treatment approach called "holistic dentistry" builds on the belief that a person's oral health and what happens inside the mouth will affect the health and healing ability of that person's entire body.
Holistic dentistry's goal involves bridging the gap between natural healing techniques and modern, traditional dentistry's more "scientific," technological approach.
It embraces not only modern science, but the timeless knowledge our ancestors used to heal our mouths and bodies naturally.
Holistic dentists believe keeping the patient's entire body in mind while addressing his or her oral health is a process that provides much healthier results than traditional dentistry.
How Does Holistic Dentistry Work?
Like homeopathic or holistic medicine, holistic dentistry seeks and uses treatments and techniques that correspond more closely with the body's natural ways of healing.
Accordingly, holistic dentists avoid using toxic materials as well as substances associated with adverse side effects. Instead, they use materials and techniques that are safe and compatible not just with the mouth, but with the whole body.
For example, holistic dentists do not use the traditional mercury-silver amalgam to fill tooth cavities. Mercury is a powerful toxin, more potent than lead, cadmium and arsenic.
Research has shown that traditional amalgam fillings release mercury vapor into the mouth, after which the mercury is absorbed into the body quite rapidly.
Even small amounts of mercury can adversely impact a person's brain, lungs, liver, kidneys and other organs, and the immune system can be compromised.
Autopsy research has revealed a direct correlation between brain tissue mercury levels and the number of amalgam fillings in the teeth. High mercury levels in the brain have been linked to Alzheimer's disease.
Recognizing these facts, holistic dentists eschew mercury-silver amalgam and instead use what are called "white fillings" for cavities. In fact, some people refer to holistic dentists as "mercury free dentists."
Dental schools do not warn their students about the health risks involved with traditional dental amalgam. Holistic dentists hold accredited dental degrees, but have come to realize that while the material of amalgam fillings is inexpensive, easy to use and effective, it is also potentially dangerous for the long-term health of their patients.
In addition to being linked with Alzheimer's disease and immuno-suppression, the presence of mercury-silver amalgam can alter a patient's personality or induce mood swings. Anecdotal evidence indicates the removal of amalgam fillings from the mouth can boost a patient's immune system.
However, holistic dentistry and the subject of mercury-silver amalgam toxicity are controversial topics within the dental profession.
The American Dental Association and various US government agencies continue to support the use of amalgam fillings as being safe despite what holistic dentists believe is overwhelming evidence to the contrary. So, the debate rages on regarding amalgam and whether escaping mercury adversely impacts the health of dental patients.
Originally, experts believed no mercury from the amalgam escaped into the oral microenvironment. Later, following research that proved the reality of mercury escape, most professionals believed the volumes involved were so small there would be no health impact, adverse or otherwise.
Some people have greater tolerance to toxins than others, and for those lucky people, the use of amalgam fillings may not create a problem. However, if you are highly sensitive to toxic substances, you might indeed experience some health issues.
Dental practices are beginning to adapt in response to this potential for danger, and composite dental fillings, also known as "white fillings" are slowly becoming more popular.
Holistic dentists also warn of the danger that arises by placing a gold filling adjacent to an amalgam filling. The electrical current that is sometimes produced resembles what is seen in a battery.
And, the two types of fillings don't even need to be adjacent in order to produce an electrical current in your mouth, because saliva functions as an electrolyte. "Cross arch firing" is an electrical response that occurs when you have different types of fillings in two separate dental arches.
In a holistic dentistry office they will be able to measure the electric current being generated by your amalgam fillings. You might experience health issues, depending on your level of sensitivity to electricity.
Some of the symptoms you might encounter include deteriorating eyesight, insomnia or disturbed sleep, hair loss (with the hair falling out in clumps), difficulty swallowing, feeling faint or light-headed, exhaustion, a mental fog, bone pains or frozen shoulders.
In short, you could become a mental and/or physical wreck. To avoid the potential for these health problems, many biological dentists use fillings made of zirconium instead of traditional mercury-silver amalgam.
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