Medicine and dentistry have come a long way over the last century. Although most people have heard of alternative healthcare, they may not have heard of holistic dentistry.
After starting out in 1978, holistic dentistry has spanned to many corners of the globe. It focuses on abandoning the use of certain products to keep the body safe. Unlike some alternative medicine practices, it still prioritizes the use of conventional methods.
If this is something you haven’t heard of, it’s worth exploring. Before you change dentists, you need to look at the evidence.
What is holistic dentistry?
Holistic dentistry involves turning away from amalgam filings, BPA in composite fillings, and anything that could push bacteria further into the body. Some of the most common claims made include:
- That the mercury in amalgam fillings is neurotoxic and nephrotoxic (harmful to the kidneys).
- That it’s unnecessary to use BPA in composite fillings.
- That traditional scale and polish methods push bacteria into the body.
- That you can inject Platelet Rich Factor (PRF) at dental wound sites to increase healing times.
Many of the concerns above reflect practices you’ll see in other parts of alternative health. If you’re unable to use holistic dentistry, you may find it reassuring to take a closer look at them.
Is there any evidence that amalgam fillings are dangerous?
Amalgam fillings have been used in dentistry for over 150 years. Many people refer to them as silver fillings, because of their shiny appearance.
One study has found that those who have amalgam fillings do show signs of having higher levels of mercury in their urine. However, the same study found that those who had higher levels of mercury in their urine showed no signs of mercury toxicity. Additionally, the FDA acknowledges that there is no clinical evidence supporting the idea that amalgam fillings are dangerous. At the same time, it admits that those who are sensitive to the material are at a higher risk of oral lesions.
Although holistic dentistry shuns the use of amalgam fillings, there appears to be no reason to fear them. Reassuringly, dental practitioners who prefer this approach aren’t proposing anything too left-field. Instead, they state that you should use a BPA-free composite filling instead. Therefore, neither practice seems particularly harmful. If you feel more comfortable with the holistic approach, it’s probably okay to embrace it.
Does PRF therapy ever prove useful?
Another interesting element of holistic dentistry is the use of Platelet Rich Fibrin (PRF) therapy. PRF is a blood component that features growth factor and fibrin. Dentists produce it by taking a small amount of blood from their patients and spinning it in a centrifuge to separate the PRF from everything else. They then inject it into a wound site (from a tooth extraction, for example) with the aim of speeding up recovery times.
Both growth factor and fibrin play prominent roles in the body’s clotting cascade and wound healing processes. So, at first glance, PRF therapy looks like a plausible part of holistic dentistry. Apparently, PRF is useful, but only in certain areas. One study states that it doesn’t have much of an effect in more advanced forms of maxillofacial surgery. However, it does decrease pain and increase healing times in smaller procedures.
Holistic dentistry, where available, is definitely worth your consideration. But if there isn’t a practitioner in your area yet, there’s no real evidence that conventional treatments will cause you any harm.