Research shows that about half of all Americans have used some type of holistic medicine for years, either as an alternative or a supplement to conventional medicine, in an attempt to maintain or restore health.
Holistic comes from the Greek word ‘holos’, which means whole. The concept is based on the idea that the whole is more than merely the sum of its parts, an idea that has been attributed to Aristotle, and is also the idea behind Gestalt theory.
Holistic medicine in general means not simply treating an ailment, but treating the whole person. Holistic dentistry (also known as Biological Dentistry) in particular is based on the idea that the mouth is just one part of a whole person, that the teeth are not separable from the patient, and that to care for the teeth, it is necessary to care for the patient.
In practice, this means not only recognizing that disease in the mouth can contribute to disease in the body, and vice versa, but also that materials used in the mouth influence the health of the rest of the body.
Just like there are multiple medications for a given ailment, there are lots of different materials that can be used to restore teeth. Part of the reason for both of these is because there is no one medicine or dental material that is ideal for every patient. Holistic dentists recognize this and, when doing any kind of restoration, strive to find the best material for that specific patient.
Many dentists, especially holistic dentists, no longer use silver fillings because they contain mercury. Many of them will even remove mercury fillings and other toxic materials from the mouths of their patients when needed. But holistic dentists observe very strict safety protocols when removing mercury fillings in order to prevent the release and absorption of excess mercury. This is important because without these protocols, removing the fillings can be even worse than leaving them in place.
Holistic practitioners prefer natural products, believing them to be gentler on the body. Many people have better reactions to natural treatments and experience fewer side effects. Natural toothpastes and mouth rinses along with herbal and homeopathic remedies are all commonly recommended by holistic practitioners. You may also find acupuncture for pain control and relaxation.
All of these practices and more are used to personalize treatment for individual patients so that each one can experience the best possible outcome.