Holistic Dentistry relates your oral health to your general health.
Any holistic practitioner should relate a holistic health model and be able to explain to our patients how our practice fits into their health model. See A Model for Health. Here we provide three different holistic health models and explain how they fit into your health picture.
Central to holistic dentistry is an understanding of the impact of infections in the gums, teeth or jawbone on your health.
Also choosing filling materials that are not toxic, aesthetic, strong and are biocompatible with good health.
The treatments of tension headaches, neck aches, migraines or jaw problems are also incorporated into holistic dentistry, together with nutritional and postural advice.
Holistic dentistry works with other health practitioners to achieve optimal health for our patients.
There can be several reasons why your teeth are sensitive. These might include:
- Decay with a cavity developing in the tooth.
- Cracks in teeth are a frequent cause which can be difficult to locate. This may require teeth restorations
- Clenching or grinding the teeth. This can also result in headaches and migraines.
- Oral infections within the tooth, gums or jawbone.
- Teeth that are tender to pressure or chewing may be the result of new fillings or crowns that may still need a slight adjustment of the bite by simply polishing.
- Tooth brush abrasion and abfraction – wear around the neck of the tooth at the gum line exposes the dentine which contains nerve endings. Application of a sensitising solution or bonding over the exposed dentine can simply eliminate the sensitvity.
Mercury dental amalgam is a filling material that has been used for 160 years and is still being used today in 75% of dental practices. The material contains 50% mercury, while the other 50% is made up of a combination of silver, tin, zinc and copper.Mercury is one of the three most toxic materials on earth, together with arsenic and lead. It is now accepted that mercury leaks out of the filling continuously and is stored in the kidney, liver and brain.The NH&MRC in a circular to the dental profession in early2003 warned that children, pregnant women and people with kidney disease should not have amalgam fillings placed. It also warned that when an amalgam filling is removed extreme care should be taken by using rubber dam (See Rubber Dam), additional suction and special burrs to minimise patient’s exposure to mercury.It is important to realise that when we are exposed to many toxins their effects are compounded and their combined affect is worse than their individual effects.At the Sydney Holistic Dental Centre (SHDC) we believe that the use of amalgam should be banned and that care should be taken when removing amalgam fillings.
When the nerve in a tooth dies (either because of decay or trauma) the dead tissue is removed from the canal, medicaments such as antiseptics and localised antibiotics are used to clean the inside of the tooth and the canals are filled.The problem is that it is impossible to make the tooth canals sterile. So, how significant is this to a person’s health? The answer is we are not sure and the effects vary from individual to individual and within the same person from time to time. Broadly speaking there are two views:
One view is that the bacteria and toxins pose a threat to a patient’s health and that the bio-energetics of having a dead tooth on a meridian line has implications for a person’s health.
The other view is that if a root canal treatment is well done by traditional dental standards then any exposure that a patient has to bacteria and their toxins is minimal and adequately dealt with by the body’s immune system. Additionally that while the nerve in the tooth is no longer present the tooth is still sitting in bone and periodontal ligament that is still very much alive.
Even in the often quoted book Root Canal Coverup by George Meinig which reviews the work of Weston Price in the 1920’s which raised serious questions about root canal treatment. Two significant statements from the book are often overlooked. Firstly, “… Price found that 25% of patients with family histories free of degenerative diseases who had excellent immune systems could expect to have and retain root canal fillings and to live without complications arising therefrom through old age”. Secondly he identifies ” – that Price’s studies were done before the time of calcium hydroxide which were found to kill most strains of bacteria in one minute”.
At the Sydney Holistic Dental Centre we believe that each decision on whether or not to do root canal treatment is made on an individual basis. This must take into account the patient’s general health status at the time, reviewing that decision at each check-up and deciding what the implications are of the alternatives to RCT. (See Chronic Oral Infections – Root Canal Treatment).
The alternative to RCT is to extract the tooth and thoroughly curette the extraction site (Note: this is standard for all extractions). When a tooth is extracted it should be replaced to maintain the harmony and balance of the teeth and jaws. The alternatives have their own potential problems and often may involve more extensive and expensive treatments. These include:
Removable partial dentures
- These need to be removed and cleaned after every meal
- Increases risk of periodontal disease (See ‘Periodontal Disease’)
- Increase wear and tear on adjacent teeth and gums that support the denture
- Not as comfortable as your own teeth
Fixed bridge work
- Involves crowning teeth on either side of the missing tooth
- Increases risk of periodontal disease (See Periodontal Disease)
- There is always the possibility of the nerve in a supporting tooth dying
Titanium Implants placed in the jaw bone
Bio-energetics of placing a metal implant on a merdian line
Teeth should only touch when your chew, swallow or talk. Studies have shown that this accounts for 15-30 minutes per day.
If you clench or grind your teeth, you may be doing it for several hours per day. Often people are unaware of this as they do it in their sleep. This not only causes the jaws to be overworked but also affects the neck and shoulders resulting in tension headaches and neck aches, and can often make migraines worse.
We use a non-drug approach to relaxing these muscles by fitting a simple NTI appliance for night-time use only.
Snoring is a widespread problem effecting the sleeping pattern of snorers and their partners. Holistic Dentistry has a significant role to play in eliminating this problem.
At the Sydney Holistic Dental Centre we have investigated many snoring appliance and feel that the SomnoMed MAS™ is our best choice.
The SomnoMed MAS™ is a unique sophisticated Australian designed and manufactured oral appliance, which has been the subject of numerous stringent, evidence based studies, which demonstrate that the SomnoMed MAS™ is a safe, effective, comfortable, extremely well tolerated, treatment for snoring and mild to moderate OSA. It may also suit many intolerant, or non-compliant, CPAP patients, as well. (See Snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnoea).
Our surgery utilises the ZOOM in-office tooth whitening system. In just over an hour your teeth will look whiter, fresher and cleaner than they ever have. It makes a significant difference to your appearance.
It is a safe and effective technique. (See tooth whitening).
Welcome to the very big club of people who are anxious, scared or even terrified of dental treatment. There are lots of things we do that help including;
- Calm, supportive team
- Use of local anaesthetics including the revolutionary Compudent- The Wand
- Television/ videos in the ceiling above you with cordless headphones
- Nitrous oxide (sometimes called “laughing gas”) which is a gentle way of relaxing you in conjunction with local anaesthetics.
- The use of rubber dam (See Rubber Dam) and its importance in calming people is a big help ensuring that you don’t have water etc. falling down the back of your throat and allows you to relax. With rubber dam and local anaesthetics many people have been known to fall asleep.
If you are feeling anxious:
- Intravenous sedation has the advantage of you being totally relaxed, all of the treatment can be done in one appointment and you often have no memory of the appointment
- General anaesthetics can also be arranged
X-rays are necessary to check between teeth, underneath fillings and crowns as well as the supporting jawbone.
At the Sydney Holistic Dental Centre (SHDC) we use digital x-rays which use 90% less radiation and eliminates the use of chemicals in the developing process. Together with protective lead shield and lead cones to limit x-ray spread we feel our system gives maximum diagnostic value and safety levels.
Some people will need to attend more frequently, while others require less frequent visits.
The idea is to identify problems while they are simple to treat.
Decay leads to a cavity and is caused by bacteria in plaque thriving on the sugary part of our diet and producing acid, which demineralises a tooth and creates a hole or cavity.
The hole starts as a small channel about the size of a pin in the enamel. When it reaches the underlying dentine it spreads out under the enamel and towards the nerve in the tooth.
Pain is a really poor gauge as to whether there is a problem. It often surprises us that one patient may only have a small cavity and be in a lot of pain while another may have extensive decay and infections and yet never had any pain.