Understanding the Difference Between Traditional and Holistic Dentistry

Traditional vs. Holistic Dentistry

Dentists can tell a lot about someone’s overall health just by looking in their mouth. While some dentists prefer a more traditional approach to oral care by focusing on teeth and gums, others want to consider the bigger picture, understanding that oral care is just one component of a patient’s wellbeing.

A holistic dentist may be more in sync with your philosophy of wellness rather than a traditional dentist who sees oral care as a separate medical field. If you aren’t sure what makes these two approaches different, this information may help you to decide which style of dentistry you prefer to be a part of your healthcare.

Understanding The Difference

Traditional dentistry concerns itself with the care of patient’s teeth, gums, and other oral tissues. They may use both composite and amalgam materials for fillings, recommend root canals and crowns, visually examine soft tissues for signs of oral cancers, and take x-rays at least once a year.

Traditional dentists typically recommend the use of fluoride regularly to protect teeth from cavities. Traditional dentists may also provide cosmetic care, such as teeth whitening or veneers to improve the appearance of a patient’s smile.

They understand the importance of reviewing a patient’s total medical history while treating them to ensure that an underlying chronic condition does not present problems during any treatment or procedure. They may not, however, make recommendations for other tests or treatments that go beyond the scope of oral care.

Holistic Dentistry – Another Way

What is holistic dentistry? Also known as biological dentistry, this whole-body approach considers oral care to be an integral part of your overall health care. These dentists understand that the body systems are connected, and their approach to caring for teeth and gums reflects their concern for a patient’s total wellbeing. They may recommend different techniques or materials to correct dental problems, or they may advise against certain treatments that they feel put a patient’s health at risk.

Their commitment to total health is also evident in their preventive care because they can consider other issues that may affect oral health, such as better nutrition, smoking cessation, and limited alcohol use. They may also look for risk factors for disease processes, including diabetes, stroke, and heart disease, based on how these conditions may present as oral symptoms.

Customized Holistic Dental Care

Rather than a one-size-fits-all treatment plan, holistic dentists consider how materials and methods affect each patient individually. Here are some areas that can mesh with holistic dentistry:

  • Composite resins – Dentists eschew the use of amalgams and other materials that contain mercury, which can be linked to other health problems
  • Digital x-rays – With less radiation exposure, digital x-rays are preferred by holistic dentists who are committed to doing no harm
  • Less fluoride usage – Rather than insisting on regular fluoride treatments or fluoridated water, holistic dentists would rather patients not ingest fluoride
  • No root canals – Holistic dentists are concerned with the potential spread of bacteria throughout the body when a root canal is performed
  • Medical waste disposal – They may modify their method of waste collection to promote a cleaner environment
  • Biocompatibility – Some holistic dentists may test patients to ensure materials are well-tolerated before completing procedures
  • Safer cosmetic options – Holistic dentists may opt for peroxide over bleach for teeth whitening to limit the use of chemicals

Optimal Overlap

Some traditional dentists may consider holistic dental care in some respects, and some holistic dentists may adopt only a few of these approaches. It’s up to individual patients to choose a dental provider who meets their needs and understands their concerns.

O’NA HealthCare understands your desire for holistic health care, which is why our healthcare plans can include free holistic dentistry coverage, including comprehensive exams, cleanings, and more. It’s just one more example of why we are Not Your Grandfather’s Insurance Company.

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