Every dental practice takes a slightly different approach to provide patient care. Some dentists only take patients of a certain age or focus on cosmetic and restorative work more than preventive care. There’s no one dental practice that’s right for everyone, so it can take a few tries to find a dentist who feels like a good fit.
Before calling every dental practice in town, new patients should try to narrow down their options. They can get started by finding out the differences between traditional, holistic and biological dentistry below.
What All These Fields Have in Common
All dentists receive specialized training, and all of them can provide preventive care for patients to help them keep their oral health on track. The most important thing about maintaining an optimal dental care routine isn’t what kind of dentist patients visit, but whether they stay on top of home oral hygiene and routine professional cleanings and exams.
Traditional Family Dentistry
Family dentists focus on providing care to patients throughout their lives. Many of them receive extra training that allows them to work more effectively with paediatric and adolescent patients. All of them act as primary dental care providers to their patients, offering advice, cleanings, exams, diagnostic testing, and restorative care.
Holistic dentistry has only started becoming popular in the past few years. It focuses on treating patients as the sum of all their parts instead of just focusing on dental care. While a traditional dentist might fill a damaged tooth, for example, a holistic dentist will usually take the time to sort out what underlying health or lifestyle factors are contributing to the patient’s tooth decay and come up with a more personalized prevention plan for the future.
Most people use the terms biological and holistic dentistry interchangeably. Like holistic dentists, biological dentists understand that there is a connection between oral health and general health and that factors such as underlying health conditions, dietary habits, stress, and even sleep patterns can all influence the patient’s dental health. Biological and holistic dentists are often trained as family dentists, providing care to the same patients over the course of their childhoods, adolescence, and adult lives.
The Biggest Differences
The biggest difference between holistic or biological dentistry and traditional family dentistry is that biological dentists use organic and biocompatible materials to fill teeth and focus more on natural treatments than complex restorative procedures like root canals. Some biological and holistic dentists won’t even perform root canals, as they can increase the risk of harmful bacteria getting into a patient’s bloodstream to cause further general health concerns.
Holistic and biological dentists will not use chemical treatments like teeth whiteners or fluoride. They rarely focus on cosmetic dentistry but often offer natural alternatives to conventional treatments
The Bottom Line
People who are into alternative medicine often seek out holistic dentists to provide primary dental care, and that’s just fine. However, it’s also perfectly fine to visit a traditional family dentist. The most important thing isn’t what type of dental practice patients choose to use, but whether they prioritize at-home oral hygiene and making it to all of their routine cleanings and exams.