Natural dentistry, also commonly referred to as holistic dentistry or biological dentistry, is a form of professional tooth care aimed at preventing and treating dental problems without using methods or substances believed to be potentially harmful or toxic. One of the main objectives of natural dentistry is to treat cavities without the use of fillings that contain mercury. Many natural dentists also avoid using conventional anesthesia and practice alternatives to traditional root canals. In some cases, natural dentistry also involves treating secondary concerns, such as nutrition or musculoskeletal issues, which may be linked to dental problems.
The aim of natural dentistry is to care for the teeth without relying on substances or techniques that some believe may cause harm to the body. Most natural dentists agree that the amalgam fillings commonly used to treat cavities in standard dentistry can pose a health risk by exposing the body to mercury. Consequently, these dentists fill cavities with composites made from organic materials, such as resin. Many also practice the safe removal of existing amalgam fillings, which are subsequently replaced with natural fillings.
Another factor that differentiates natural dentistry from standard dentistry is that many natural dentists avoid using traditional anesthesia when performing procedures like tooth extractions. This is largely because a chemical called epinephrine, which is contained in traditional anesthesia and which functions to temporarily narrow the blood vessels, is believed by some to cause undesirable side effects. It may, for instance, cause rapid heartbeat or damage to the treated tissue. When numbing of the teeth and mouth is necessary, natural dentists typically use an anesthesia that does not contain epinephrine.
Some in the natural dentistry community believe that a conventional root canal can leave a patient open to further pain and infection if the procedure does not fully remove or seal off all affected nerve endings. Certain natural dentists argue that tooth extraction is a safer and more effective treatment than root canals. Others hold that root canals are acceptable, but that the affected tooth’s interior should be sealed with a natural compound.
As natural dentistry is a form of holistic medicine, it may involve detecting and treating secondary conditions that might be at the root of a dental problem. For instance, a natural dentist may recommend massage of the neck and back as a potential treatment for teeth grinding and jaw pain. This type of dentist may also help patients establish a diet plan that will promote dental health through nutrition.