Sometimes a patient or parent will mention that nothing in their or their child’s visit seemed obviously “holistic.” At least part of the reason, we believe, stems from the fact that “holistic” is inherently part of our practice, the foundation of what we do.
Here are just some of the holistically-oriented procedures we offer in our Austin holistic family dental clinic:
- Ozone gas can be used for children who are able to sit still on their own for the treatment of surface decay. The dentist applies the gas to surfaces where decay has not yet damaged the enamel. However, this is not for children who are fidgety or uncooperative, as there is a risk of their inhaling pure ozone into their lungs. If ozone is accidentally inhaled, there can be severe irritation, a cough for 30 to 60 minutes, and difficulty breathing.
- Because we have dental ozone available, we can sometimes prevent a tooth from needing a pulpotomy (“baby root canal”) and perform an indirect pulp cap (IPC) instead. This is because ozone helps us remove harmful bacteria that is close to the nerve. We can then place a sealer over the area to stimulate the formation of secondary dentin. In cases of especially advanced decay, however, a pulpotomy is the only option to keep a primary tooth in the mouth until it’s ready to fall out naturally.
- When decayed teeth still have enough healthy tooth structure, white composite resin fillings can be placed, sometimes in combination with IPC, instead of a crown. We try to restore teeth in this biocompatible way instead of with the standard pulpotomy and crown. Again, this isn’t always possible, but it is preferred.
- Biocompatibility testing can be done to determine which dental materials are most suitable for a person’s unique biochemistry. For this, we rely on Clifford Consulting and Research, whose serum test is the most comprehensive and truly the gold standard in compatibility testing. There are limitations, however, if a child is too young and thus hasn’t been exposed to everything an adult has. The test results may not be as robust. Still, when testing is not possible, we still use materials that holistic dentistry has determined to be most broadly biocompatible.
- We encourage the use of homeopathic remedies in addition to any prescriptions given. For post-surgical healing and recovery, we recommend remedies such as arnica montana, hypericum, prepared oregano oil, prepared clove oil, ozonated oils, herbal rinses, and other medicaments. We can give you specific recommendations while you are at our office.
- We offer a caries management protocol to patients with surface decay that can potentially be arrested with dietary modifications (nutrient-dense foods, healing and restoring foods, the elimination of processed foods, etc.), supplementation, oral probiotics, and application of a remineralizing toothpast such as MI Paste. This is mostly discussed at your first visit, but sometimes, we wait until your second visit, after decay has been removed. Simply, we must prioritize putting out the fires and then establishing a healing environment for the teeth. We also recommend that you work with a functional medicine doctor or nutritionist to determine which foods will have the most impact for you in restoring both mouth and body to health.
- Microscopic analysis allows us to examine bacteria in the gum pockets around your teeth. It helps to determine your risk of periodontal (gum) disease and if such bacteria could be raising your risk of other systemic health problems. Sometimes, this is done at the initial visit, other times during a treatment or recall appointment.
Times When There Are No Holistic Alternatives
There are a few procedures for which there are NO holistic alternatives, including oral sedation, nitrous oxide (“laughing gas”), and general anesthesia. It’s important to understand that these sedation modalities are used to manage a patient’s anxiety and behavior to allow for successful treatment. They’re not normally needed for very cooperative kids unless the procedures are surgical in nature or are desired to help the patient be more comfortable.
Oral sedation and general anesthesia are generally for uncooperative patients who need moderate to extensive treatment or have an infection/abscess present. Usually, these are children age 4 and younger.
When the teeth need to be numbed, there is no homeopathic alternative to local anesthetic.
Except for patients who are candidates for Healthy Start orthodontic appliances or Invisalign, metal braces are the only option to correct crowding, bite issues, or related problems. Your dentist will determine at your visit whether a metal-free system is an option for you.
We have yet to find a good metal-free option for space maintainers devices that are used when a patient has lost a baby tooth prematurely. A space maintainer holds the space for the permanent tooth so crowding is prevented in that area.
Other Holistic Procedures Available at Our Office
- Ozone insufflation of gum pockets: for patients who have moderate to high amounts of pathogenic bacteria in the gum pockets around their teeth. Several applications are done using custom-made trays. In addition, an at-home irrigation protocol can also help reduce levels of harmful bacteria.
- Platelet Rich Fibrin (PRF): for adult patients to support healing following extractions or other surgical procedures. Healing factors in your own blood are used to help the surgical area heal and greatly reduces post-surgical complications.
- Prolozone therapy: for teens and adults who suffer from TMJ problems that cause headaches, jaw muscle tenderness, neck tightness and pain. Combining an anesthetic, ozone, and a homeopathic cocktail delivered through a series of injections, prolozone therapy can help a patient live in a pain-free state by reducing inflammation and stimulating healing. Dr. Evy is a living testimony of the benefits of this therapy. When she was suffering of neck pain, headaches, jaw pain, and muscle tightness and tenderness which was not alleviated by over-the-counter pain relievers, she turned to holistic dental therapy to help with inflammation and pain.
- Ceramic/zirconia crowns: an alternative to metal crowns. Custom-fabricated in a dental lab, these can be used for most pediatric patients, as well as adults, and are the only kind we recommend.