Biological dentistry is a branch of holistic medicine. Practitioners of this discipline believe in treating the body as a whole rather than in parts. Biological dentists seek to find the least invasive methods for assessing and improving the oral health of the individual patient. There is often controversy regarding whether this type of approach to oral health is effective and safe. Proponents say this approach is the valuable because it addresses not only the body but the mind and soul as well.
The idea that oral health is related to and represents the general health of the body is a tenet of biological dentistry. General holistic doctors often work on a referral basis with biological dentists. This tandem approach allows the patient to be assessed as a complete entity.
Holistic dentists examine each patient with concern to oral issues and other health complaints involving different parts of the body. These dentists ask a variety of questions to help them determine the nature of the problem. After gathering an oral history, they use equipment such as digital X-rays to assess the mouth and teeth. This type of X-ray is used to help diminish the negative results arising from irradiation.
Proponents of biological dentistry believe that mercury should not be used in the body because of its toxic properties. A holistic dentist often removes fillings or entire teeth that have been previously treated with a mercury filling. These natural dentists also avoid the use of fluoride, and they sterilize their equipment with solutions that do not contain chemicals that they believe are poisonous in nature.
Often, dentists and physicians dispute the effectiveness and safety of biological dentistry. Many health and dental professionals describe the removal of healthy teeth, whether they contain mercury or other metallic fillings, as unethical and ineffectual in treating medical issues. People who oppose holistic dentistry often fear that a patient who sees a biological dentist will reject conventional treatments and potentially compromise his or her health.
Traditional dentists advise against the removal of teeth when it can be avoided. They reason that losing teeth can result in a person not being able to eat certain foods, which can lead to a lack of proper nutrition. These dentists argue that fillings and root canals are preferable to extraction, whereas the holistic dentist often suggests that keeping the teeth can expose the body to potential infection.
Biological dentists argue that their methods are successful and the most natural form of health care. They argue that any toxic metals in the mouth are harmful, although conventional dentists argue that the small amount used in fillings is harmless. Biological dentistry is preferred by people who seek holistic treatments in general, because the goal of these types of practices is to treat the entire person instead of a particular body part.