A holistic dentist is the choice of many patients who prefer a more alternative approach. The term "holistic" refers to a whole body approach where each component is related to the others. This approach leans toward the belief that nutrition and mental health play a large role in the health of the teeth, gums and mouth. More natural methods, rather than just prescription drugs, are utilized in this practice. Some examples of items used to improve health may include herbs, supplements, vitamins and minerals.
Pain management may be controlled with techniques that are alternative to traditional anesthesia. Some examples of natural pain control techniques include hypnosis and acupuncture. Acupuncture is an ancient Asian medical therapy which utilizes tiny needles which are inserted into certain areas of the bodies to achieve specific goals. In dentistry these goals may be to lessen the gag reflex, to alleviate pain and anxiety. This treatment is designed to release endorphins. When endorphins are released, relaxation and cessation of pain occurs. Hypnosis is a technique that will allow a patient to slip into a hypnotic state. The hypnotic state is one of deep tranquility and blanking out of the mind. The dentist who uses this method of pain control will have to have undergone special training and certification in order to utilize it effectively.
Some other natural dental remedies include aloe vera, chamomile, clove, tea tree oil, peppermint, Vitamin K and wintergreen. These items have a range of medicinal properties including anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antibiotics, antiviral, and antiseptic. Cold sores can be treated with lysine.
Many holistic practitioners recommend natural toothpaste products rather than the traditional commercial varieties that may contain chemicals, additives, dyes and preservatives. These alternative toothpastes are gentle, non-abrasive and even include varieties appropriate for use on babies' teeth. Certain types contain no animal products so are preferred by vegans and vegetarians.
There is debate in the natural dental community regarding fluoride. Some believe that it can help to strengthen teeth while others feel that it is harmful. Many feel that the patient should research the pros and cons of fluoride and make a decision for themselves. One part of any "whole person" treatment, whether medical or dental, is to have the person be an informed participant in their health care. Not only does this contribute to their feeling of mastery and control over their own destiny, it's good for judgment, wisdom and brain development. Is a holistic dentist the right practitioner for you? Investigate the facts, go for a consultation, and find out.