Holistic dentistry has a wide range of meanings which can vary from dentist to dentist and patient to patient. It is not necessarily a reflection of technique but a philosophical approach. In simple terms, it means the whole as in a dentist will consider how oral health impacts overall health and work to educate patients. You may take it as standard that all dentists understand and implement dentistry as the whole, with recent research once again confirming the link between oral health and heart health, but it is important to choose a dentist whom considers you more than just teeth and gums. In terms of holistic dentistry for tooth replacement this is an area with variations.
This is a form of dental treatment that has grown in use over the years and typically comes in the form of titanium screws that replace missing teeth. These are left for around eight to 12 weeks to integrate with bone tissue, a process known as osseointegration, and provide a sturdy foundation for a crown or bridge to be fitted. Dental implants can restore function to the mouth and aid nutrition through the improved ability to chew food. They are considered biocompatible - not harmful to living tissue - within the dental industry, but others questions this.
Are Dental Implants Biocompatible?
This is where holistic dentistry and tooth replacement via dental implants becomes a complicated matter, as it will normally depend on whom you are talking to as to the answer you receive about this matter. But if we are to consider holistic dentistry as being about the whole then the benefits of this treatment are significant and will work to greatly improve patients health and wellbeing. What is important is that you choose a dentist whom tests for biocompatibility of the materials they use.
All-Ceramic Dental Implants
If you are concerned about the use of titanium, which is generally the standard for dental implants, then an all-ceramic implant may provide an alternative solution. These are free of metal and will likely eliminate any concerns you may have about biocompatibility. This material is of low density and able to withstand high temperature and constant abrasion in the body. Non-metal zirconium dental implants are one such solution and are a suitable option if you have concerns about the holistic nature of titanium.
The difference between traditional dentistry and holistic dentistry is still yet to be satisfactorily defined. As a philosophical approach its definition is relatively simple and the whole emphasis is easy to take on board. Any treatment undertaken should treat the problem and any underlying issues which treatment like dental implants does, with the belief by many in the dental industry that they have no adverse effect on overall health. However, if we then consider the differing opinions on the biocompatibility of implants then we are once again left with no definitive answer on this issue.