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Holistic Dentistry – Treating The Whole Patient

Updated: Apr 2

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Holistic Dentistry – Treating The Whole Patient. What Is Holistic Dentistry?

You may have heard the phrase, “the mouth is the gateway to the body.” This is true in an obvious sense – our mouths allow us to intake food, water, and sometimes air. But it is also true in a deeper sense. At our office we focus on holistic dentistry – treating the whole patient. Many problems that affect the entire body can be detected first in a patient’s mouth. However, they can only be detected if someone is looking for them. Enter holistic dentistry. When you choose a holistic dentist, you’re choosing a professional with the training and expertise to detect early warning signs and symptoms of problems that run far deeper than your pearly whites. In this article, we’ll discuss sleep apnea and other airway issues, TMD, and OMDs.

Some differences between traditional dentistry and holistic dentistry are:

  • Use of Composite fillings; no longer using amalgam/mercury fillings

  • Consideration of heavy metal issues (electrical and toxic)

  • Multi-disciplinary healthcare (whole body)

  • Innovative client centered therapy options (nutritional, preventative, exercise)

  • TMJ therapy options

  • Diagnosis and treatment of restrictive breathing

  • Digital imagery instead of traditional x-rays

  • Knowing and practicing proper mercury removal

The goals of holistic dentistry are to support and improve the body’s natural abilities to heal and regenerate. Dr. Snyder and her team believe that dentistry is health and trust centered. She practices an integrative approach to create a beautiful smile as well as a healthy functioning body. 

The Goals Of Holistic Dentistry

  • Fillings Holistic dentistry uses a minimally invasive approach when treating cavities or during other dental procedures. This approach helps maintain as much of the natural tooth as possible which is essential for tooth functionality and strength.  

  • Non-Toxic Materials Most traditional dentists still use amalgam fillings. Amalgam is a mixture of metals that may contain mercury and copper. Amalgam or “silver” fillings have been linked to neurological disease, autoimmune and reproductive disorders. Holistic dentists use toxic-free materials that are healthier for the tooth and overall health. In addition, holistic dentists are trained on how to safely remove and dispose of toxic metal fillings.

  • Advanced Technology Holistic dentist’s offices are now equipped with the latest technology such as the Fotona Laser, digital imaging and 3-D printers. Advanced technology like laser therapy assists holistic healing by producing less inflammation, increasing growth, being less invasive and decreasing pain.  

  • Getting To the Root of the Problem Holistic dentists don’t just “fix your teeth”. For example, if your teeth are being worn down, a traditional dentist may suggest crowns. A holistic dentist will figure out why you are grinding your teeth.  What if TMJ is causing the issue? Dental crowns are NOT going to fix your TMJ or tooth grinding.  In fact, it could worsen it.  

  • Immune System Holistic dentistry promotes the understanding that your dental health is intertwined with your overall body health. Did you know Gum disease has been linked to such things as diabetes, heart disease, premature birth and other seemingly unrelated issues? A big goal for holistic dentists is to keep your immune system strong.

What Type of Questions Will A Holistic Dentist Ask?

An area that will be discussed in great detail is diet and nutrition. Holistic dentists are trained nutritionists who understand there is a significant link between the food we eat and oral and overall health.

Other areas may include:

  • Use of Tobacco 

  • Alcohol Consumption

  • Exercise Routine

  • Daily Stress Levels

Airway Issues & Holistic Dentistry

In survival school, they teach the rule of 3s. You can go 3 weeks without food and 3 days without water, but only about 3 minutes without air. For something so crucial, most people don’t spend much time thinking about breathing. Fortunately for her patients, Dr. Snyder does. She is an expert in craniosacral airway issues, and knows what signs and symptoms to look for in her patients. Two of the most common airway issues in America are sleep apnea and mouth breathing.

Sleep Apnea & Holistic Dentistry

Sleep apnea is a very common condition, with tens of millions of Americans suffering from it every year. Unfortunately, a vast number of these cases go undiagnosed. Sleep apnea starves the patient’s sleeping brain of oxygen, both causing and contributing to a myriad of health issues. To learn more about it, check out our sleep apnea page.

Mouth Breathing & Holistic Dentistry

Humans breathe in two ways – through our nose and through our mouths. So, what’s wrong with breathing through your mouth? Nothing, as long as you’re doing it at the right time. It’s natural to breathe through your mouth during exercise, or other times when your body is running short on oxygen. However, some people get into the habit of breathing through their mouths at inappropriate times, most notably during sleep.

When a patient chronically sleeps with their mouth open, it damages tooth enamel and gum tissue, decreases oxygen absorption, and causes other problems. For more information on mouth breathing, check out our page on airway issues.

Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine

Our dentist works with Dr. Lee Medina, DOM, to integrate oriental medicine into her practice. One of the most common uses of oriental medicine in our office is to treat TMD, or temporomandibular joint disorder. TMD is often (although incorrectly) referred to by the abbreviated name of the joint, TMJ. Dr. Medina uses acupuncture, massage, and other non-invasive healing techniques to relax the muscles of the TMJ and provide pain relief for TMD sufferers.

Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders

Our dentist works with Sandraluz Gonzalez, a registered dental hygienist, and a certified orofacial myofunctional therapist. Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders (OMDs) are disorders of the muscles and functions of the face and mouth. OMDs may affect, directly and/or indirectly, chewing, swallowing, speech, occlusion, temporomandibular joint movement, oral hygiene, stability of orthodontic treatment, facial esthetics, and more.

Holistic dentistry reflects the interconnected nature of the human body. If you’ve made it this far into this post series, you’re probably starting to get the sense that all the disorders we’re talking about are part of the same, interrelated web of cause and effect. Only by taking a wide view, reinforced by a detailed understanding of the relationships between the body’s various systems, can a medical professional accurately diagnose and recommend treatment for these conditions.

Going to a dentist who is only trained to treat your mouth is a little like going to a mechanic who can only fix transmissions. Sure, they’re important, but there’s a lot of other parts on a car that are crucial, too.

Whether you suffer from TMD, airway issues, other OMDs, or just want to go to the most qualified dental team around, give the office a call today to set up an appointment.

What Studies Have Shown Us About the Mouth – Body Connection

What studies have shown us about the mouth – body connection and how we can maintain our oral health to improve our overall health. Below are findings from studies that show the connection between our body and mouth.

Floss Your Way To Health

A recent study at the Mayo Clinic linked oral bacteria and inflammation, caused by gum disease, to a variety of health conditions such as:

  • Diabetes

  • Heart Disease

  • Low Birth Weight

  • Premature Births

  • Alzheimer’s Disease

  • Stroke

To help prevent gum disease, floss twice a day. Visit your dentist for regular cleanings and for early stages of gum disease use a specifically formatted toothpaste designed to improve gum health.  

To combat gum disease, find a dentist who offers Laser Periodontal Therapy (LPT™). A laser is used to remove the inflamed and infected gum tissue and also allow for better access to the root surfaces so that they may be thoroughly cleaned with Piezo ultrasonic scalers and hand scalers.

Brush Your Way To Health

At any time there are approximately 500 different types of bacteria in your mouth. Most of them are good. Some of them are not! Bad bacteria sticks to your teeth, forming plaque. 

Plaque attacks your dental enamel causing periodontal problems or gum disease. Keep your teeth free of plaque buildup by brushing for two minutes, twice a day. 

A recent study at American Academy of Periodontology found that flossing before brushing may be the ideal sequence for the most thorough removal of dental plaque. Chewing a stick of sugarless gum can also help fight harmful bacteria. 

Eat And Drink Your Way To Health

According to the Pajama Sam study, “You are what you eat from your head to your feet”. Did you know the most significant contributor to tooth decay and gum disease is sugar? By limiting your sugar intake such as sports drinks, sodas, sugary snacks you can avoid cavities and keep the protective enamel on your teeth around for a long time. 

If you are feeling thirsty or dehydrated, drink water. Even hunger can be a sign of dehydration.    

Eat foods that are healthy for your teeth and gums such as:

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables

  • Teas rich in polyphenols

  • Nuts

  • Whole Grains

To find out more about the dental services offered by our dentist in Albuquerque NM, Dr. Snyder, call (505)-293-7611, schedule an online consultation or visit us at 4830 Juan Tabo Blvd. NE, Ste. K, Albuquerque, NM, 87111.



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