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Holistic Dentist vs Regular Dentist

If you’re looking for a dentist, you may be curious about the differences between a holistic dentist vs. a regular dentist—the biggest difference is in the amount of education. 

Holistic dentists went to dental school (like regular dentists) . . . but then went on to pursue additional education above and beyond the basic dental school curriculum. 

Like most other graduate schools, the training received in dental school is basic and very traditional.

They make sure their students are able to perform basic things like… 

  • Learning to diagnose dental problems 
  • Cleaning teeth 
  • Placing fillings on teeth with cavities
  • Place crowns teeth on teeth 
  • Performing root canals 
  • Pulling teeth  
  • Replacing teeth

before they graduate. 

Some dentists NEVER complete another day of training after dental school. 

Let that sink in for a minute!

how holistic dentistry is different

The Scope of Traditional Dentistry

Because of this, most traditional dental practices are centered on
“fixing teeth.”  We like to call them “tooth mechanics”…

…because they fix tooth problems…

…and that’s ALL they have been taught to do!

It is up to the individual dentist to invest their time and money into learning more.

If you are looking for a dentist that will do more than just fix your teeth, there are certain things to look for . . . If their website has nothing more than information on pretty smiles and fillings—you may want to move on

When choosing a holistic dentist vs. a regular dentist, you want to find a dentist that realizes teeth are connected to the rest of the body!

What goes on in the mouth affects everything else (and vice versa).  

Illness and other problems in the body will show up in the mouth—which is why dentists need to know what to look for.

In his 2011 book, Whole-Body Dentistry, Dr. Mark Breiner, DDS laments that: 

“This year millions of adults and their children will needlessly suffer a broad range of preventable illnesses. Less serious conditions, like excessive fatigue and headaches, may go unnoticed or will be incorrectly attributed to aging or stress. Hundreds of thousands of individuals will develop more serious conditions …


These people will become ill for no apparent reason. But more often than not, there is an underlying issue that triggers these people’s illnesses, and that issue is often found in the mouth.”

A German physician, Dr. Reinhard Voll, used 40 years of research and estimated that nearly 80% of all illness is related entirely or partially to problems in the mouth.


These findings and statistics should surprise almost any health practitioner—but particularly dentists (including me)

I realized just how serious these dental-health connections are when I reached out to alternative cancer treatment centers for patients that needed their care. 

They informed the patients and I that they would not see them to treat their cancer until ALL their dental conditions had been treated and resolved…

…they have learned the cancer treatments will not be effective while chronic infections remain in the mouth.

I am fascinated to hear that patients don’t get this information from their cancer doctors, heart doctors, or even their previous dentist! 

Why aren’t more health professionals talking about this with every patient?


Regular dentists have been trained to treat dental conditions in a mechanical
“drill and fill” method . . . If there is a hole in a tooth, it needs to be filled. 

We have not been trained to look for the sources or causes of the problem, or to look deeper into how these dental problems could be affecting the rest of the body . . . this is new territory for most practitioners. 

Coming back to the differences between a holistic dentist vs. a regular dentist—regular dentists have not been trained to look at the forest, because they spend so much time looking at the trees…  

…and that’s where a holistic dentist is different.

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Holistic Dentist vs. Regular Dentist: How Can You Find a Holistic Dentist?

Here is a list of the things to look for when choosing a Holistic Dentist:

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1 – Is it a “Mercury Free” and “Mercury safe” Dental Practice?

These are two different things. “Mercury Free” simply means the dentist does not place mercury containing fillings, and thankfully, quite a few dentists fall into this category now.

“Mercury safe” means that all mercury is handled safely and when removing old mercury fillings, you and the dental team will be protected.  Make sure that the office is MERCURY SAFE!

2 – Do They Have a Special Protocol for Removing Mercury Fillings?

To handle mercury safely, the office will have a mercury removal protocol including physical protection for you and the dental team during removal.

This should include rubber dam, high volume suction, and skin and airway protection, amongst other things. The office should also have a protocol for you to follow nutritionally to prepare your body to excrete the metals after removal.

3 – Do They Use Digital X-rays?

X-rays have been and will continue to be a concern in medicine and dentistry, but they are safer now than ever before.

With the introduction of digital x-rays, the radiation used for an x-ray is dramatically reduced. X-rays are essential in proper diagnosis, but should only be done digitally to keep you safe.

Digital X-ray

4 – What is Their Position on Fluoride?

Fluoride has had a controversial journey. It does make a tooth stronger…

…however, there are very undesirable side effects of fluoride usage that are often ignored.

Fluoride should be used sparingly and never ingested if possible.


5 – Do They Address Nutrition in Relation to Dental Health?

The dentist has probably talk to you about not eating sugar . . . but that is the tip of the iceberg on how nutrition affects your dental health.

Nutrition can hurt or heal your teeth, bone, and gums. The entire dental team should be able to guide you to a Mouth-Friendly diet.


6 – What is their position on root canals?

Root canals save teeth—in the short term. Their effect on health in the long term is the problem.

A very educated and honest approach to root canals, as well as high-tech diagnostic tools like Cone Beam CT scanners, are necessary to really take care of your health.

Root Canal

7 – Do They Place Bio-mimetic Dental Restorations?

Bio-mimetic means simply mimicking nature. No dental restoration is as good as what you were born with . . . but some are close to nature than others.

If you need a dental restoration, make sure it will help preserve and protect your tooth.


8 – Do They Have Non-Toxic Recommendations for Dental Products?

As a practicing dentist, I know I get boxes of toothpaste for free from dental product manufacturers. Although it is free to give to the patients — I don’t.

I don’t recommend many of the ingredients in those products, and neither should the dentist you visit. They should have well researched alternatives to traditional dental products available for you.


9 – Do They Use a Laser to Diagnose Dental Cavities?

I don’t know how I ever practiced without a laser. I was taught to “poke” a tooth to see if it had a cavity. Unfortunately, the poking method is only 25% accurate. That means I was missing 75% of the cavities while they were still small (and easily healed or treated).

There is a specialized laser that detects cavities—and it is 90% accurate in diagnosis. Make sure your dentist uses these new technologies to help keep you healthy.


10 – What is Their Position on Tooth Remineralization?

There is a lot of outrage on both sides about “healing teeth”.  Consumers feel dentists have been hiding the fact that cavities can be healed, and dentists are sure they can’t.

There is a truth to this controversy, and it lies somewhere in the middle. Make sure your dentist has a remineralization protocol and explanation for how it should be used.

When considering your options of visiting a holistic dentist vs. a regular dentist, you should consider how much the dentist will be looking out for your overall health.

When using the assessment above, the dental office should score at least SEVEN OUT OF TEN on this questionnaire, if they are really whole-body and health focused


When you’re ready to start, our team is here to help you with your oral health and wellness journey. 

Ready to schedule your new patient exam with Total Care Dental?

Click here to request your appointment today or call us at 801-756-3737.


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