Promoting Health and WellnessFor many people, holistic dentistry conjures up images of herbal medicines, “all natural” potions to cure dental disease, and a host of alternative remedies that are supposed to help preserve the health of teeth and the mouth with very little professional intervention. In fact, holistic dentistry is much more straightforward and less mysterious than that. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, holistic means “…relating to or concerned with wholes or with complete systems rather than with the analysis of, treatment of, or dissection into parts.”
In our office, we think of this as individualized care; it becomes a patient-centered approach. We treat people; we don’t just fix teeth. Every person is different and every tooth is different. In the past, teeth were treated almost as separate entities, as if they were disposable and replaceable. We now understand the intimate and powerful connection between a healthy dentition and our overall health. Modern dentistry focuses on the prevention of dental disease, the preservation of our natural teeth and the relationship between oral and systemic health.
People with poor oral health are more prone to a host of systemic health problems including heart disease, diabetes and pneumonia. Unhealthy teeth lead to pain, loss of function, poor nutrition, and a decline in general health. Nutrition, genetics, socioeconomic factors, life events, and basic biology all contribute to our ability to maintain balance in the oral cavity and avoid disease. Our job in the dental profession is to translate those principles into an individualized care plan that fits the needs, wants, and desires of each individual we treat.