What is a Biological Dentist?
A biological dentist (also called a holistic or natural dentist) operates according to the belief system that your oral health is fundamentally connected to your overall health and well-being. They understand that problems of the mouth can, and often do, affect other areas of the body. Their mission is to treat and restore the natural health of your mouth while working in harmony with your entire body.
In general, biological dentists are advocates of minimally invasive dentistry, seek to educate their patients and always use safe, biocompatible dental materials. Many are trained to provide ceramic dental implants and advanced mercury removal protocols in accordance with IAOMT guidelines.
Perhaps the biggest difference you’ll notice at a biological dentistry office is the individualized approach to care. They oppose the traditional “one size fits all” dentistry model and, instead, recognize that every patient is different and should be treated according to their specific needs.
Let’s take a closer look at the top 10 reasons to select a biological dentist.
1. A Biological Dentist Treats the Whole Person
For years, conventional dentistry focused solely on the health of your mouth. Dentists filled cavities, performed root canals and treated gum disease. Rarely, if ever, did they consider a patient’s overall physical health to uncover potential underlying causes for certain oral issues.
Today, not only do we now realize that physical conditions like poor nutrition and smoking have a real impact on oral health, many independent studies have concluded that poor oral health has been linked to conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimers and complications during pregnancy.
A natural dentist recognizes the mouth-body relationship and uses a holistic, whole-body approach to treat the cause of the problem and not just the symptoms that manifest in the mouth. They are educated in how oral infections can spread to other parts of the body, how mercury and other toxic dental materials may harm us, and how a misaligned bite can account for health problems such as insomnia, headaches, ear aches, poor posture and joint pain. The Meridian tooth chart shows you how the mouth and body are interconnected, and how every organ in the body is directly linked to a specific tooth.
When you choose to see an alternative dentist, you can expect a whole person approach to your treatment. In addition to returning your teeth to optimal health, they will consider your overall nutrition, toxicity levels, detoxification and cleansing opportunities as well as the elimination of harmful habits.
2. They Use Safe Materials
Biological dentists recognize that what goes in your mouth can affect your whole body. They are committed to using safe, durable, non-toxic bio-compatible dental materials, and strictly oppose the use of amalgam, or mercury fillings. This commitment helps to lessen your toxic load and puts less stress on your immune system. Interested in a non metal implant? Many also offer ceramic dental implants made of zirconia.
3. They Offer Bio-Compatibility Testing
Studies indicate that some patients may develop a sensitivity to certain types of dental materials. When working with sensitive patients, a biological dentist will also perform biocompatibility testing—either via a blood test or kinesiology (muscle testing)—to determine which filing material best suites your individual biology. Most holistic dentists offer a wide range of safe bio-compatible dental materials to use for fillings, bridges and crowns.
Alternately, most conventional dentists do not believe in biocompatibility testing and will not test you to determine if you could react to the materials they use. They also do not generally seek to educate patients about the different types of materials available or give them a choice in what they use.
4. Mercury Safe – Not Just Mercury Free
You may have heard about the risks associated with using mercury, or amalgam, fillings in dentistry. Even conventional news outlets are reporting on the health dangers associated with mercury poisoning, which include psychological, neurological and immunological problems.
Mercury itself is classified as a neurotoxin. It has been scientifically proven that mercury fillings in your mouth continuously release small amounts of toxic vapor into your body every time you eat, drink, brush your teeth, clench your jaw, and so forth. Over time, exposure to these toxic vapors can cause chronic mercury poisoning.
While the American Dental Association (ADA) and pro-amalgam dentists argue that the levels of mercury vapor exposure from fillings are too low to cause concern, biological dentists believe there is no safe level of mercury exposure and will not risk using it in their practice.
Today, you will find numerous dentists who claim to be “mercury free,” meaning they do not place new amalgam fillings. However, most biological dentists go the extra mile to be both mercury free and “mercury safe.” This means they adhere to a strict protocol set forth by the International Academy of Oral Medicine & Technology (IAOMT) to protect their patients, staff and the environment from mercury exposure when removing amalgam fillings.
5. Safe Amalgam Removal
These dentists recognize that while it is certainly important to have mercury removed from your mouth, it is equally as important to use proper removal protocols that protect their patients from additional mercury exposure. If these protocols are not followed, mercury vapor can be released into the air during removal and then absorbed into the body by inhaling or ingesting the vapors.
Some of the protocols that need to be done to keep you safe during amalgam removal include:
- Keep the fillings cool by using a cold-water spray with copious amounts of water.
- Provide you with an alternative air source during treatment and instructing you not to breathe through your mouth.
- Use a high-volume evacuator tip near the tooth to safely evacuate mercury vapor.
- Using a dental dam so you don’t swallow or inhale vapors
- Wash and vacuum away any mercury alloy particles as soon as they are generated.
- Immediately changing your protective wear and washing your face after the fillings have been removed.
- Using room purifiers or ionizers
- Consider appropriate nutritional support and detoxification before, during and after the amalgam removal.
6. They Seek to Educate
When you see a biological dentist, you can expect more time during your appointment devoted to education. They are passionate about their field and seek to inform and educate their patients about the importance of the mouth-body connection and maintaining overall health. For example, you may be informed about toxic ingredients to avoid in toothpaste, personal care and cleaning products, and how to limit the damage caused by toxic overload.
An alternative dentist will approach your care from a holistic perspective—aiming to treat the cause of the problem and not just the symptoms. They will ask the right questions, listen to your responses and seek to understand and address your unique situation. To them, every patient is different and should be treated according to their specific needs. Through listening and educating, they will provide each person with the care that is right for them.
7. They are Advocates for Conservative, Non-Surgical, Minimally Invasive Dentistry
In sharp contrast to the “drill and fill” strategy many conventional dentists embrace, holistic dentists are advocates for minimally invasive dentistry. Minimally invasive dentistry seeks to treat dental ailments, such as tooth decay, gum disease and even cosmetic issues, without the overuse of extensive drilling or unwarranted procedures. Natural dentists aim to preserve as much of the natural tooth structure and surrounding tissue as possible. They use safe, bio-compatible materials and offer various minimally invasive dental technologies to restore teeth to their optimal condition. Some of these minimally invasive dental technologies include:
- Air Abrasion. Also known as “drill-less” dentistry, air abrasion can conservatively treat the early stages of tooth decay and help prepare teeth for restorations. It is noiseless, heat-less and a minimally invasive alternative to drilling.
- Ozone Therapy. Ozone therapy is used to treat gum disease and oral infections using only water and oxygen. This ozone gas is a powerful antimicrobial agent, killing bacteria on contact and penetrating areas deep below the gum line where disinfectant or antibiotic cannot reach.
- Laser Therapy. In dentistry, lasers are an effective, non-chemical tool to kill bacteria. They can be used in the treatment of gum disease, to sterilize root canals and even in the shaping of gum tissue. As opposed to drills and cutting tools, lasers are less invasive, more precise and there is less pain, bleeding and swelling for the patient.
- CAD/CAM/CEREC. CAD/CAM is a computer system that allows dentists to make precise, long-lasting restorations in a single visit.
8. They Use Low-Radiation Digital X-rays
While x-rays are a useful tool for early detection of dental problems, all dental x-rays are not created equal. Biological dentists offer digital dental x-rays, which expose you to 80-90% less radiation than conventional x-rays. Digital x-rays are not only safer with lower radiation exposure—they are also a superior technology to aid in both diagnosing and evaluation.
9. They Seek Alternatives to Root Canals
Root canals are commonly performed by traditional dentists to “save” a tooth that is dead or is going to die soon. A biological dentist, on the other hand, acknowledge the potential long-term risks associated with root canals are much more conservative in their approach to recommending and performing them.
Research shows that unless root canals are 100% sterilized and cleaned of all bacteria (which is virtually impossible to achieve), bacteria can leak into the bloodstream and, over time, cause serious chronic health complications.
If you are told you need a root canal, it’s always in your best interest to seek out another opinion. In some cases, an inflamed tooth may respond well to root canal alternatives such as homeopathy, herbs, ozone or laser therapy, nutritional support, and so on. Extractions are also a safe alternative that should be considered.
Holistic dentists will first seek out potential alternatives to root canal therapy and seek to educate you about all your available options and any potential risks. Generally, biological dentists only perform root canals as a last resort, if they perform them at all.
10. The Fluoride Debate
Most conventional dentists promote the use of both topical and ingested fluoride, favoring fluoridated water and toothpaste. Biological dentists, on the other hand, generally dispute the use of ingested fluoride, pointing to research indicating various risks:
- Fluoride is an endocrine disruptor and can affect bones, brain, thyroid and blood sugar levels.
- Fluoride over-exposure can cause Fluorosis, leading to cloudy spots, streaks and stains on the teeth.
- 36 studies found a correlation between fluoride and a lower IQ.
Ready to learn more? Please contact Integrative Dental Solutions to take the first step in reclaiming your oral and physical health.