Holistic Dentistry
Linking your oral health to your general health in many surprising ways
Sydney Holistic Dental Centre - Dentists

Holistic dentistry isn’t alternative dentistry, it’s just good dentistry. It focuses closely on the many links between oral health and general health and recognises the whole person.

It is now recognised in healthcare in general, and particularly in dentistry, that there is a significant correlation between what happens in your mouth and the rest of your body. For example, your mouth is THE gateway to your digestive tract and respiratory system; the size, shape and alignment of the upper and lower jaw and teeth affect the ability of these systems to work optimally. As holistic dentists, we also focus on understanding how infections in your gums, teeth and jawbone, as well as dental treatments themselves, can influence your overall health.

At Sydney Holistic Dental Centre, we use a holistic approach patient-centred approach. That means that, while we’ll always ensure that you get the treatment you need to solve your oral health issues, we’ll always consider your general health too. This includes assessing chronic muscle-contraction headaches, neck aches or jaw pain, breathing difficulties, poor sleep, snoring, obstructive sleep apnoea and more.

Another important aspect of the holistic approach is that we care about the materials and substances we use in our treatments. As such, we use materials that are non-toxic and biocompatible and take great care in removing mercury/silver amalgam fillings. Whatever your oral health needs, we’ll ensure you always understand the treatments on offer and how the holistic patient-centred approach can help improve your health and wellbeing.

Mercury Amalgam Removal
Mercury removed from the mouth must, by law, be disposed of as toxic waste... this needs to be done carefully.

‘Silver’ fillings, commonly used in dentistry for over a century, actually contain 50% mercury, which is slowly released. If not well excreted, this mercury is stored in the kidneys, liver and brain. At Sydney Holistic Dental Centre, we haven’t used mercury/silver amalgam in our practice for over 35 years and take great care in its removal.

Mercury can be slowly released from dental amalgam fillings due to corrosion, friction and temperature changes. The fillings also expand with time, which can crack and erode the teeth. When mercury is released, you will be entirely unaware; it is invisible, odourless and tasteless. However, a significant percentage of the vapour released will be absorbed by your lungs and will enter your bloodstream. While the rate of mercury release may seem minimal, over time, it has the potential to interfere with normal functions within the immune system, reproductive system, neurological system and more.

According to the World Health Organisation, since 1991, it has been recognised that mercury/silver fillings are the greatest source of mercury in humans. Careful removal is key to reducing ongoing exposure. However, it must be done extremely carefully to minimise your exposure. At Sydney Holistic Dental Centre, we are SMART accredited; we use the Safe Mercury Amalgam Removal Technique, a set of safety measures to reduce mercury exposure, during all amalgam filling removals. The SMART protocol was developed as a result of scientific research and is regarded as the highest international standard and safest way to remove amalgam, which means you are in the safest possible hands. We then focus on replacing your fillings with more biocompatible, aesthetic and long-lasting alternatives such as resin or ceramic restorations.

Root Canal Treatment
Root canal treatment is one of the most technically challenging procedures in dentistry if it is done well... and how do we measure success? This topic is more complicated than you think.....

Inside the root of each of your teeth is dental pulp, which is composed of nerves, blood vessels and cells. If decay or a deep filling in your tooth reaches the pulp, it can become injured, and while your body will attempt to repair itself, the pulp and blood vessels may die and become necrotic or gangrenous. Left untreated, the infection will worsen and eventually affect the bone surrounding the affected tooth, often leading to an abscess, which may or may not be painful. The same can happen if a tooth is traumatised by a blow or accident.

A root canal treatment works by locating each canal within the root, carefully measuring the length to the tip of the root, thoroughly cleaning and precisely filling the root canal system. Root canal treatment is one of the most technically challenging treatments in dentistry when done to the highest standard. However, not all root canals are done to that standard, which is an important distinction.

Root canal treatment is a little controversial in the field of holistic dentistry as there is no way to ensure the tooth canal is completely sterile. Basically, there are two differing views with regards to root canal treatment:

  • The case against: the long-term presence of bacteria and toxins within a tooth is a challenge to the immune system and a threat to the health of the patient. The natural tooth will be lost, but can be replaced with a removable denture, fixed bridge or implant.
  • The case for: if a root canal treatment is done to the highest standards and the regeneration of bone occurs, then any residual bacteria or toxins is minimal and can be effectively dealt with by the immune system, preserving the natural tooth.

At Sydney Holistic Dental Centre, we are open to both viewpoints regarding root canals and suggest treatment on a case by case basis; we remain patient-centred at all times. Careful assessment and diagnosis is key before recommending any treatment.

If we do go ahead with a root canal treatment, we use 3D cone beam x-rays to establish the exact anatomy of a root as well as using high-powered microscopy and additional antimicrobial measures. We then monitor the tooth to ensure the regeneration of healthy bone, comfort and function and the ability of the immune system to deal with any remaining bacteria and toxins.

If the decision is to remove the tooth, we carefully preserve as much bone as possible, the extraction site is thoroughly curetted and the patient’s own ‘fibrin-rich protein’ ( PRF) is used to cover and protect the extraction site for optimal healing.

Whatever we recommend, with the holistic approach to root canal treatment, you can have confidence that every aspect of your ongoing health has been considered.

Snoring and OSA

A consistently good night’s sleep is THE most important part of everybody’s day. It has been described as ‘your built-in life-support system’ affecting every aspect of your physical, mental and emotional health and wellbeing. It’s cheap, accessible and effective.

Sleep is a time to rebuild, revive, reboot. The first step is to prioritise it, realise its importance and commit to making a consistently good night’s sleep the habit of a lifetime. The second step is getting a consistently good night’s sleep. That means not only getting enough sleep but breathing well while you’re asleep.

At Sydney Holistic Dental Centre, we will review the history of your sleeping and breathing habits and carry out a thorough assessment. If we suspect you might have a sleep disorder, we also work closely with sleep physician specialists:

  • Snoring: the tongue is attached to the lower jaw and when it drops back, or if there is excessive weight around the throat, the airway can be restricted, resulting in a snoring sound. Snoring is not just an inconvenient social problem; it’s an indication that the quality of your sleep, and your life, may be compromised, not to mention that of your partner.
  • Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA): OSA is a condition that causes breathing to be restricted (called hypopnoea) or completely blocked (called apnoea) for ten seconds or more frequently every hour while you sleep. While you may not be aware it is happening, it is one of the major sleep problems, and can have a significant impact on your overall health. Poor sleep can lead to cardiovascular disease (CVD), hormonal imbalance, weight gain, diabetes, memory issues such as dementia, compromised immune function, increased chronic inflammation, infertility, erectile dysfunction, headaches and muscle tenderness, not to mention daytime drowsiness and much more.

Treatment for sleep disorders may involve the use of a custom-made night-time appliance that supports the jaw and tongue in maintaining an open airway. Our priority is ensuring you get a better night’s sleep and that your general health and wellbeing are all the better for it. Focusing on a better night’s sleep is often life-changing and, in some instances, can also be life-saving.

Sleep Treatment
We encourage our patients to get 'a consistently good night's sleep'... and there are many ways we can help.

Sleep is an integral part of the day and has a huge impact on your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. With a consistently good night’s sleep, you’ll be better placed to face the day ahead and have the resilience to deal with the stresses of our modern world. However, under the surface, sleep also works to boost your immune system, improve your hormone balance and help you to think clearly. Ultimately, a consistently good night’s sleep improves every health measure and makes you much more likely to fight off diseases.

If you don’t sleep well, it can increase your risk of diseases such as heart attack, diabetes and high blood pressure. It can also increase the risk of you having an accident due to lack of concentration. With continued lack of sleep, you may find that your relationships are impacted and that your career suffers. If you struggle to get to sleep, often wake up in the night, don’t feel refreshed in the morning or suffer from headaches or jaw pain, help is at hand.

We work closely with sleep physicians to determine if there is a problem and how serious that is. Depending on the assessment, there are several options:

At Sydney Holistic Dental Centre, there are several ways that we can help you to improve your sleep and treat sleep problems. First and foremost, we’ll investigate your sleep quality, thoroughly assessing your breathing, examining your oral health, considering whether you’re snoring and reviewing your sleeping position.

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Lifestyle changes

exploring the power of good ‘sleep hygiene’ can be simple but effective.

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Breathing changes

are you a mouth breather or nasal breather? We have a simple yet powerful intervention that can change that overnight.

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Night-time appliances

we can create customised night-time appliances to help you maintain an open airway while you sleep.

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CPAP

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) – CPAP therapy can be used to help treat more severe sleep problems.

Breathing Well

There is a big difference between 'just breathing' and 'breathing well' and that difference affects every aspect of your physical, mental and emotional health.

You would think that breathing was so natural that you couldn’t get it wrong. Sadly, that is far from the case. Ideally, the tongue should be resting on the palate, it’s our built-in orthodontic appliance creating more space in the upper jaw, and you should breathe slowly and gently through your nose from the diaphragm, utilising your entire lung capacity.

Nasal breathing is a wonderful and simple tool we all have that has the potential to affect every system in our body in a positive way, if we get it right. Among its many benefits, nasal breathing:

  • Warms, humidifies and filters the air before it’s taken to the lungs.
  • Helps balance out the pH of the body.
  • Produces nitric oxide, which is a powerful regulator in the body and, importantly, is also antimicrobial, which also includes being antiviral.

Imbalances in the way we breathe can impact body chemistry and blood pH, which can be the catalyst for many diseases to propagate. If you breathe through your mouth, your breathing may be dysfunctional. Your jaw may not fully develop, the air you breathe won’t be filtered and your posture can be affected. The fact is that mouth breathing affects your whole body. It may start by impacting your sleep but can lead to headaches, anxiety, energy deficiency and a more acidic body, which creates dental and general health problems.

At Sydney Holistic Dental Centre, our sleep and breathing assessment is a vital part of the services we offer. Poor breathing is surprisingly common. We’ll consider whether you wake up with dry lips or a dry mouth, how often you wake during the night, particularly to go to the bathroom and whether your teeth are crowded, which determines the size and shape of the upper airway. From there, we’ll be able to suggest treatments, tools and techniques, which can help you breathe more easily and lead a healthier, happier life.

Headaches are an extremely common problem, but that doesn’t mean that they’re normal and something you should have to learn to live with. Having a few headaches each year is one thing, but if you have them every month, every week or every day, there is likely a bigger problem at play and sometimes the jaw has been overlooked.

Headaches are a prime example of how your oral health can impact your overall wellbeing. If you clench or grind your teeth when you sleep, you may wake up with a tension headache or neck ache. What’s more, increased pain can inhibit other muscular conditions from healing. It can work the other way around too. If you are in pain, it can cause you to clench your jaw, which creates more soft tissue problems and leads to muscular and neurological pain. Poor posture and nutrition can also put a huge strain on the body, again leading to teeth grinding or clenching.

At Sydney Holistic Dental Centre, we aim to help all our patients live pain-free lives. If you suffer from headaches and neck aches, we’ll look closely to assess the connection with your oral health. We’ll assess the soft tissues around the head, neck and jaw joints, the quality of your sleep and more. We offer our patients a variety of appliances suitable for different scenarios, from temporary soft splints to custom-built night guards to relieve stress and tension in the muscles and joints. The use of a simple night-time mouthguard can often provide effective relief from pain, resolve long-standing chronic pain problems and greatly improve your quality of life.

Initial Dental Consultation

Our initial dental consultation is a little different from a standard dental practice; it includes:

  • An opportunity to assess both your general and oral health history, the connections are often surprising.
  • An oral cancer screening, this is a growing problem and early detection is critical.
  • An assessment of jaw joints, teeth and any restorations, as well as the gingival and periodontal support around each tooth.
  • Digital x-rays, bitewings and panoramic, using up to 90% less radiation than standard x-rays.
  • High-definition digital photographs to give us an excellent way of recording and understanding what is going on in your mouth.
  • A Discussion of your individual needs to ensure your comfort throughout treatment; your comfort during treatment is our highest priority.
  • An outline of appropriate treatment options with costs.

Ultimately, at Sydney Holistic Dental Centre, our aim is assess your oral health, how it relates to your overall health and whether there are any steps that you or we can take to improve both.

Why Choose Sydney Holistic Dental Centre?

Our patient-centred approach places you at the centre of your visit to us.

We are committed to delivering the highest quality treatment relevant to your needs in a relaxed and comfortable environment.

To find out more about holistic dentistry or to book an appointment, fill in our contact form today and we’ll be in touch. Alternatively, you can call us on (02) 9221 5800.

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