Written by chicagohealers.com practitioner Mladen Kralj D.D.S
Holistic & Cosmetic Dental Care…Yes, its possible
o There is no set criteria for practicing “holistic” dentistry, It is not a sub-specialization of general dentistry, rather the holistic concept is interpreted by practitioners in a variety different ways.
o At ORA Dental Studio we do not distinguish between general (holistic) dental care and cosmetic services – they are intertwined as every patients has specific needs to improve or maintain proper oral health.
o A healthy, attractive smile not only looks good but actually functions better. When your teeth are properly aligned and have their natural anatomy, they function more effectively, less susceptible to wear, easier to clean and maintain. To us restoring a single tooth or full mouth makeover to its natural anatomy is one and the same. A single filling or crown should not be noticeable, it should look like a tooth, not a dental restoration.
o What is holistic and cosmetic dental care?
o Holistic dental care is the philosophy and approach to dentistry that promotes oral and overall health and wellness instead of just the treatment of oral disease. A holistic dental practice can become the first line of defense for preventative medicine. This is because a holistic dental practice sees the patient before they are obviously ill, periodontal diagnosis & systemic diagnosis are now intertwined, and on a yearly basis a dental hygienist spends 4 times as much quality time with the patient than their physician.
o This approach to dentistry encompasses modern science, technology and natural healing. It is sometimes called “Biological” dentistry or “Biocompatible” dentistry. Holistic dental care acknowledges and deals with the mind, body, and spirit of the patient, not just his or her “teeth”.
o The basic principles of holistic dental care is:
o Comprehensive diagnosis and treatment planning
o Patient education and nutrition counseling for the prevention and reversal of degenerative dental disease (tooth decay)
o Prevention and treatment of gum disease at its biological basis.
o Prevention and treatment of dental malocclusion and bruxism (grinding/clenching). Bite problems can lead to tension headaches, migraines and physical imbalance.
o Avoidance and elimination of toxins from dental materials (ie. mercury, lead)
o Minimally invasive treatment through early diagnosis to preserve as much of the natural tooth structure and dentition.
o At ORA Dental Studio we have taken the principals of holistic dental care one step further and introduced the concept “eco-friendly dentistry.” We have created an environment that is non-toxic to the patient, team, and doctor.
o Holistic dental care takes a full body wellness approach towards oral health care.
o Holistic dental care should be minimally invasive; mercury and metal-free free; use only biocompatible composite resin or pure porcelain restorations; recommend a dental implant over the more invasive dental bridge, etc
o We have eliminated many of the known toxins from the practice environment such as mercury, lead, VOC, PVC, PBA, x-ray processing solutions, etc
o What is Cosmetic dental care?
o Many people feel that cosmetic dental care is only about vanity, wanting to look better. While that statement is true to a degree, you need to understand the power and importance of an attractive healthy smile.
o Your smile is the first thing people will notice about you, it is a fundamental element of your natural beauty – a reflection of your spirit, your essence. A sparkling smile that is in perfect harmony with the lips and face crowns the splendor of your character.
o A healthy attractive, smile is an important facet of life – it can have an impact on your personal, social, and professional relationships. When you are pleased with your smile you radiate confidence and positive energy.
o Cosmetic dental care can range from minimally invasive treatment such as whitening, laser gum and tooth contouring, and Invisalign clear braces to straighten teeth to replacing old dental restorations and crowns, porcelain veneers, and smile makeovers.
o How is holistic & cosmetic dental care different from traditional dental care?
o Unfortunately there are still too many dentists that see themselves as only “tooth doctors” and treat only tooth symptoms once they present themselves
o Holistic dental care that incorporates cosmetic procedures requires comprehensive diagnosis and treatment planning that are intended to provide improved long-term oral health, thus improved overall wellness. Emphasis is on:
o Early diagnosis and prevention
o Patient education to the systemic link between healthy mouth and healthy body
o Advanced technology and minimally invasive techniques
o Example: Oral Cancer screenings – something as innocuous as a symptom free small red or white lesion on the side of or underneath the tongue could be a sign for oral cancer. We implement the VELscope system, an immunofluorescence device that detects suspicious (dyplastic) tissue below the mucosal surface before it can be seen by the naked eye. If biopsied and determined to be cancerous it is often at the early stage and highly treatable.
o Why would a patient choose holistic care over traditional care?
o I believe when given an option, and properly informed, patients will understand and appreciate the benefits of holistic care versus traditional care. A holistic approach strongly believes in using advanced technology for early diagnosis, patient education, prevention, and minimally invasive treatment. The benefits to the patient are shorter, more comfortable visits, less costly treatment, longer lasting restorations, and preservation of natural tooth structure, soft tissue (gums), and hard tissue (bone).
o For example, let’s take something as simple as tooth decay.
o In traditional care a dentist will diagnose a cavity once it is visible to the naked eye, soft to the touch, large enough to be seen on an x-ray and/or the patient complains about tooth sensitivity or pain. The tooth is then treated with a moderate to large sized amalgam (silver/mercury) or white composite resin filling. The “life cycle” of that first dental restoration then follows the path of replacing the filling again with a much larger one, eventually followed by a crown, and chance of a root canal due to tooth pulpal death, eventual loss of tooth if the root canal fails, followed by a bridge or dental implant.
o A progressive, technology oriented holistic dentist will diagnose that same cavity much earlier with a laser detection device called a DIAGNOdent, remove the decay with anesthetic or drilling by using air abrasion. The result is a very small, minimally invasive filling that can last a lifetime, or need to only be replaced once.
o From a financial perspective in the traditional model the cost of maintaining that tooth over 30 years is around $10,000. In the holistic, minimally invasive model the cost of maintaining that tooth is only $500 over 30 years.
o At ORA Dental Studio we have introduced Ozone Therapy as a completely non-invasive way to treat incipient dental decay. Our CMU3 unit by Lime Technologies pumps ozone into a tooth, immediately destroying 99% of decay causing bacteria. Through the use of rinses and a patient’s own saliva the tooth naturally remineralizes the affected tooth structure. Ozone Therapy is the future of treating dental decay. (this would make for a great article in itself)
o Please provide tips (products to use that are natural, natural tips for taking care of your teeth, gums, tongue, etc.)
o Periodontal (gum) disease prevention, fresh breath
o Proper daily brushing with an electric toothbrush such as Sonicare will remove plaque and stains much more effectively than a manual toothbrush
o Use tongue scarper to remove plaque from the back of the tongue
o Professional cleanings and bitewing xrays twice a year to check for early signs of periodontal disease and bone loss.
o Use Natural Tooth Tonic and Toothpaste (Dental Herb Company) available through your dentist only – I found this to be most effective for healthy gums
o Tooth wear prevention
o Many Americans exhibit signs of bruxism (night time grinding/clenching) causes wear, tooth movement, loss of enamel, chipping, etc. This is typically due to stress.
o A simple custom made thin nightguard called the NTI will help prevent tooth wear and damage, and reduces the intensity of the grinding habit.
o The NTI has also been proven effective in reducing/eliminating tension headaches and migraines that are often associated with bruxism.
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