What is Integrative Dentistry?
Integrated Body Systems
Integrative dentists believe in something called the "mouth-body connection," asserting that what happens in the mouth affects the rest of the body; that the two are not independent of each other. They understand that oral health impacts the health of the entire body because the teeth, gums, and the mouth are highly integrated with the other body systems. To integrative dentists, the body, including the mouth, is a whole or holistic system. Consider the gut. The mouth is the entryway to the gut, and the gut affects the health of everything else. If the mouth is able to take in nutritious foods and is not suffering from infection, the gut will be healthy as well, and thereby, the body!
To Integrative dentists, integrated body systems require integrated methods. Conventional dental treatment alone will not take care of systemic issues. Integrative dentists combine conventional treatment methods with alternative, preventative methods because they believe a blended approach will achieve better results.
What this looks like in practice is constant research and listening. Integrative dentists are constantly looking into the latest research and the most advanced methods to incorporate in their practice. At the appointment, integrative dentists look at the dental and medical history of their patient, listening to their lifestyle, perspective, and choices in order to make the most informed decision for their dental care.
Integrative dentists would rather maintain health and prevent disease rather than “get it fixed” after the fact. They do this by performing treatments that have positive long-term effects and by providing advice in areas like nutrition and lifestyle, as well as evaluation of the airway. Their goal is to overcome the root of the problem rather than the symptom in order to prevent future issues.
Because integrative dentists understand the “mouth-body connection,” they try to use as minimally invasive treatments as possible in order to protect the health of the body as well as the mouth. One of the biggest ways they do this is by using safer, more natural materials in their work, such as:
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