When I was a kid, my mom worked for a physician. On Saturdays, I used to take the bus to “hang out” in the office. He used to let me sit behind his desk and look at his books and medical journals. Even at that young age, I saw he treated his patients as people, not just body parts. We would talk sometimes and he would tell me the most important thing in medicine is to look at the whole person, not just what hurts them. This stuck with me throughout life and helped shape a practice philosophy. I truly believe the key to healing is the “trinity” of mind, body and spirit – holistic.
Dentists can be “holistic” in the sense that they do not use mercury fillings. Or they try to minimize the amount of metals in other restorations. They can be against root canals or fluoride. But the fact is, those are only individual treatment modalities. So what good is getting non-mercury fillings if other aspects of health are not integrated into treatment? I have seen way too many patients with a mouth full of white fillings who suffer from TMJ, headaches, periodontal disease, and sleep apnea. They had gone to a “holistic” dentist.
A Holistic Approach to dentistry looks at the patient as a whole person, not just the teeth. It is about looking beyond the mouth to the rest of the body and evaluating that relationship. Using this approach with sound neuromuscular principles, treatments can be offered that addresses headaches, neck aches, facial pain, TMJ, sleep problems, as well at the common “dental” issues. It’s about quality of life, not just the quality of teeth. It’s this philosophical approach that drives the treatment outcome, not just the materials used.