10 things to look for when you’re trying to choose a holistic dentist.
This podcast is designed and created to help you to find the ideal holistic dentist for you. What things to look for, what questions to ask, what research to do beforehand. It’s supposed to be handy. It’s not meant to be prescriptive for any one individual person. It is very generic and each person has his own unique dental status and would need very individual diagnosis and treatment plans. So it’s very generic, but it can be quite helpful to sort of use as a reference, as a rule of thumb. Choosing your new dentist can be very daunting as dental visits are rarely experiences that you undertake by choice.
In addition to that, finding a dentist with a niche or specialty such as holistic dentistry, whose ethos, and services meet all the necessary criteria that defines a true holistic dentist, with all the right biological parameters can seem quite daunting or feel like an unmanageable high mountain climb, as one patient put it to me before she found us. In this podcast, also, my intentions are to help clarify what questions you might want to ask your prospective dentist, in order to establish that they’re truly holistic and fully biological in their mindset and in their approach to dentistry.
I mean, some of the pitfalls, for instance, in becoming a dentist and gaining some experience in the field is that we lose sight of the fact we deal with live tissues. Whereas the work itself is rather highly mechanical by nature. One of the biggest challenges then becomes how can we reach a nice balance as dentists between these opposing elements? I feel that both are utterly essential to achieve good results though. The work does require precise technical skills, where the mechanics come into play, but we must also constantly take the nerves, the gums, the chewing muscles, the joints, et cetera, et cetera, into account. Hence, no longer just physics, but also biology to be balance in harmony. Harmony, in my opinion, is the key word and balance.
In addition, there’s a matter of bonding between a patient and a dentist on a professional level without being too formal either. So just personal enough to make the patient in the chair feel comfortable, both they’re not on edge and wary of what is coming next or how I ended up in the right place for me, without going off on a tangent here. You can see how important it is to do a thorough enough of a background research so that the visit itself to the chosen dentist feels right once sitting in that dreaded chair. Now, without going off on a tangent here, you can see how important it is to do a thorough enough of a background research so that the visit self to the chosen dentist feels right to you.
One sitting in that dreaded chair so that you feel you have landed in the right place, simply put. At the end of the day, and I can only assume, the most biologically-minded dentist are in the job to make a living, but also to enjoy their work, to feel an immense kind of satisfaction, helping people with their oral health. For this to be possible, the dentist too must feel comfortable with their patient and connect with them on a decent level. This is at least my personal opinion, and this is also how I lead in my professional life.
And so, about the specifics of holistic dentistry. Holistic dentistry is not simply about the dentist being fluoride-free and expecting to see some crystal pieces hanging in the surgery window. It’s not about never updating the premises that they operate from in an attempt to make it seem in a certain way. No. A true holistic dentist should meet certain minimum criteria worldwide, where they refer to as a holistic dentist as is the case in the UK or a biological dentist as we are called also in the US. Or also sometimes referred to as a functional dentist, as a parallel to functional medicine doctor, for instance. The principles of holistic dentistry are by and large, very specific, in that they’re established on the basis that we should look for the root cause of what is happening. And the same principles always take the whole body into account.
And now, to the questions that we really should be asking before we set foot in a new dental practice. Now, the questions to seek answers to when looking for a holistic dentist can be as follows. And there are really 10 points here that I’m going to try and be sort of short and sharp about. Although that I could sidetrack a bit, but really hopefully for the benefit of the listener.
Number one, is there an ethos that is based on seeking to prevent disease and therefore not need, there won’t be any need for future dental work. So in other words, work, feeding new work and it goes like sort of a vicious circle and, and the patient having to keep going back to the same dentist for new work relating to the same tooth, perhaps. Now I’m sort of really talking on a tooth by tooth level, but you kind of, I think, my message is fairly clear here. So basically, any work that’s done should last, give good longevity and not sort of give birth to need for new work.
Now, the second point here is also quite important. Is there an emphasis on what your oral microbiome health is as well as your gut biome. Do they see the link between the two, and as such discourage antimicrobial mouth washes for instance, and avoid antibiotic prescription as far as is possible. The Mind, Body, Teeth podcast, which is the Munro Hall Clinic podcast covers this topic extensively. Should you feel that you would like to find out a little more about this before you formulate your own questions in your own words about this topic? And it is in one of the episodes found in this podcast.Now, whenever I carry out research about a health topic, I tend to gather as much information as I possibly can, which I then use as a source to proceed further with any treatment. It may be applicable in this area too. And I would say particularly in this area, because it’s not all that well known to most mainstream-oriented people, for instance. Perhaps gut health and gut microbiome is quite well known, but the oral microbiome, not really all that sort of significant or well-known in many people’s eyes. But it should be just simply because of the very strong link that we have seen between the two. And as many people know, the gut is often referred to as the second brain.
And so the third point I’d like to talk about, do they recognize the notion that enamel can re-mineralize naturally to a degree? This is true to a degree, to a certain extent, yes. And it also depends on what surface of the tooth, as much as it depends on the extent of the decay. So for instance, has the decay reached the dentin and is it sort of hidden between two teeth, then the prognosis is unfortunately quite grim in terms of just leaving it. Whereas, if it’s on a sort of, let’s say a self cleansing area where it’s sort of quite open and it hasn’t reached the dentine, it can often kind of become inactive. And we use many methods for that. For instance, at Munro Hall Clinic, ozone being one of them and diet talk and diet management being a huge part of it. And drinking water in good amounts, decent levels, sort of two liters a day, that sort of thing will stimulate saliva.
And saliva has a major role in the same sort of extent, in the same area topic. And also, does the dentist or the practice recognize the bodily impact that originates from bite problems and other structural issues. Do they make connections or have connections with other holistic practitioners who offer functional orthodontics for instance, including myofunctional therapies, which focuses on sort of soft issue training and so on as well? Whether external referral or onsite referral exists within the practice. Do they recognize sleep medicines as an entity of his its? That may be essential part of the holistic treatment. Sleep apnea, be in a shed light on quite a bit. I think even in mainstream medicine and dentistry nowadays, do they recognize the importance of oxygenation of tissues, which starts in the nose and the mouth as a method of delivery of that same oxygen?
These are all extremely important and hugely significant in holistic, and to look at the person as a whole and not just treat and look at the teeth alone. Holistic dentistry works to understand the impact of inflammation in the mouth. And now, this is actually important point as a fifth point in the your perhaps research work. The inflammation in the mouth and its impact throughout the rest of the whole body. In best case scenario, there will be tests in place such as certain blood tests to check where the body’s at in that particular point in time, prior to commencing dental treatment. To address any issues that are identified and possibly referred for treatment or supplements in an appropriate manner in order to prepare the patient for their dental treatment, that addresses the dental side of things.
We are, I think becoming more and more aware as a society of chronic inflammation and hopefully chronic inflammation in the jaws originating from teeth and so on will be more shed light on, so that the dots are connected to the body inflammation, the bodily inflammation as well. The sixth point is, is there a post-treatment protocol in place. For instance, tests such as blood tests again, or supplements to help support further detoxification after amalgam filling removal for instance? I feel it’s very important that this part of the journey is actually ideally designed by a nutritionist or a naturopathic practitioner designed and put together as a whole protocol. So you can see then, the collaboration between dentists and other alternative medicine practitioners. All of a sudden starts gaining a certain picture here.
The seventh point, one very good clue as to how holistic the dentist or the clinic is, would be by seeking to see what questions you are asked as a patient. For instance, in the practice registration form or in the medical history documents, this can be observed. It would seem reasonable to expect seeing questions about your health in a more invasive manner than just an ordinary medical history form that you would receive at a mainstream dental practice.
In our process for registering our patients instance, we ask all sorts of questions that are specifically targeting liver disease, for instance, or neurological imbalances, or perhaps overall indication of chronic inflammation, et cetera, et cetera. It is a very comprehensive questionnaire form. Very rarely, I may even think that a patient is not suited for holistic dentistry just based on reading their registration form. Now, just to reiterate, this is quite rare, but it does happen. This could be for various reasons, but one may be that they’re just not ready for alternative ways of thinking about their health and they may just really be wasting their time by visiting us.
Or sometimes I may feel that somebody needs to come and see us very urgently because we may be able to help them before their health deteriorates significantly. As a rule of thumb, though, we will see patients in an orderly manner and based on a first come, first served basis. Either way, we have a well designed medical history and registration process that reveals a number of processes in the body, and certainly sheds light on the body, mouth teeth connection before our patients even set foot in the clinic.
The mental status is often reflected on these forms also. These pieces of information being in place, the dentist then really stands a chance of assessing you as a dental patient holistically, putting the dots together, forming a basis for the plan forward. The eight point or question is how do they perform extractions and all surgery procedures, for instance? Is there a specific protocol in place that allows the least traumatic procedure for the bone so that there’s minimal risk for developing dry socket, capitations being osteonecrosis of the jaws, et cetera? What adjunctive and supportive procedures are in place to, again, minimize complications?
Please note, I’m not saying ruling out complications as that is possible and depends on the patient’s biological capacity to respond and heal well. On the other hand, a good holistic dentist also tries to preempt to this risk also by assessing where their patient is at holistically, prior to embarking on anything surgical, including extractions. If needed be, you may even need to see a naturopath or a functional medicine doctor or a homeopath for that matter, prior to the dental procedure, in order to be prepared for the journey. This pre-treatment should be a supportive one and prepare for a good outcome. Some clinics may even have a supplement-based protocol in place.
The ninth point here, adjunctive therapies, such as ozone therapies, which can treat anything from early decay to treating dry sockets after traumatic extraction, all the way to laser use, to support healing or address pain, for instance, or heal cold sores are all part of holistic dentistry that, in my opinion, makes a holistic clinic very much a cutting edge kind of clinic and progressive in their thinking. They’re all great signs to go by really. And so now this brings us to the last and the 10th point or question. There is so much, and so many questions we could ask to establish whether a clinic is truly holistic or not. However, I wanted to stick to 10 bullet points here, bullet point style recommendations, really. And you, as a patient could always build on these to suit your individual needs. The last general point or recommendation that I would like to make is to look at the dentist’s history in terms of continuing education. Are they continually building on their existing portfolio of skills and knowledge in order to keep up with the latest in the functional medicine field.
Some of the highly evolving fields would be implant dentistry using zirconium instead of titanium, for instance. And another one is sleep medicine, as oxygenation of our tissues is such an imperative part of our overall health. At Munro Hall Clinic, for instance, we are not offering these services, but we know where to refer or recommend the patient to go in the UK. Although both sort of topics mentioned are quite not all that commonly found in the UK, unfortunately.
But I think if we give it a few years, they will all… I think they are definitely evolving fields even in the UK. When you think about it as a what are our very basic needs, breathe, sleep, and eat, going back to sleep medicine and oxygenation of our tissues. If breathing is impaired during sleep, well, then you might see the bigger picture in this. In conclusion, to have a dentist with a mind for an eternal, as an eternal student who sees this as their strength is worth the waiting gold. I hope you’ve enjoyed this podcast and hope the 10 points here are useful for you to use when you are embarking on finding your holistic dentist.
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Last Updated: January 24, 2022