About Holistic Dentist, Dr. Daniel Vinograd
EDUCATION AND DEGREES
(DDS) Doctor of Dental Surgery- the University of Southern California in 1978
Bilingual Secondary Education Teaching Credential from San Diego State University in 1992
PROFESSIONAL AND VOLUNTEER EXPERIENCE
Serving dental patients as a D.D.S. since 1978.
Advocate for mercury-free and biological, holistic dentistry since 1980.
Associate instructor in prosthodontics for USC since 1980.
Naturopath (trained in Acupuncture, Homeopathic & Chinese Medicine) & Holistic Healer since 2002.*
Medical and dental outreach around the world, including:
Helps International in Huehuetenango, Guatemala in 2005
GF Medical Mission Foundation in Nueva Santa Rosa, Guatemala in 2008 and 2009
God’s Child Project in Antigua and Guatemala in 2008
Remote Area Medical in rural Tennessee in 2008 and 2009
Yale University in the Peruvian Amazon in 2010
Numerous professional organizations, among them :
IAOMT – or International Academy of Oral Medicine & Toxicology
IAMSD – or International Association of Mercury Safe Dentists
ISDAM – or International Society of Dental Anxiety Management
HOLISTIC DENTAL LECTURE (GERSON INSTITUTE)
Background on Holistic Dentistry
There are a lot of differences between holistic and traditional dentistry, but they all come down to this: Holistic dentistry is a dental practice that recognizes that oral health influences, and is influenced by, the health of the body.
Before we can discuss what holistic dentistry entails, we first have to understand what the word ‘holistic’ means. Holistic is not a word that is specific to dental practices, or even to dentistry itself, but rather reflects an entire philosophy of care. Think of the word ‘holistic’ as ‘whole-istic’. Holistic care focuses on how all of the body’s systems interact and influence one another. Holistic dentistry views the mouth as one part of the whole body, not a part that can be treated independently of the body.
To say that traditional dentists don’t seen any link between the teeth and the body would be inaccurate. Most dentists are aware of recent studies that have found correlations between gum disease and heart disease, pregnancy and diabetes. Unlike traditional dentists, however, holistic dentists perceive the longer term and less obvious effects of dental treatments on the rest of the body.
Dentists with a true holistic mindset focus on dental practices that are beneficial to not just the teeth, but the entire body.
Some dentists use the term holistic for marketing reasons, but while they may not use mercury fillings, they may use a number of other dental practices that are not actually holistic. There are also dentists who do not use the term holistic, but they do understand the philosophy and practice in a way that would be considered holistic. Just because a dental practice calls itself holistic doesn’t mean it is, and just because they don’t use the descriptor doesn’t mean they are not.
The Center for Natural Dentistry places a high priority on natural and holistic dental practices. What exactly does this look like? What exactly sets holistic practices apart from traditional practices?
The first thing most people think of when they think of holistic or natural dentistry is mercury fillings. While not using mercury is a major point of holistic dentistry, it is just the beginning, there are actually many other differences between holistic and traditional dentists. While it is true that many dentists call themselves holistic without actually observing holistic practices, while other dentists do use holistic practices without calling themselves holistic. That said, we will still use the term to divide the issues for the sake of clarity.
Traditional dentistry defends the use of mercury fillings due to their strength and longevity. It is also easy to get insurance to pay for them. The ADA and FDA both take the stance that these fillings are safe and that the mercury is stable and only leaks minute amounts. Many dentists also find them easier to use than other dental materials.
Holistic dentists see mercury as a toxin, and believe that even in minute amounts it still poses a risk to the body and can have a detrimental impact on overall health. Not only this, mercury fillings can expand, placing pressure on the tooth that can weaken it and cause it to crack. Holistic dentists not only do not place mercury fillings, they follow very strict protocols for safe removal of existing fillings.
Root canals are a traditional method of saving a tooth that is severely decayed and has either died or soon will. The root canal is a procedure that is centuries old and traditional dentists see it as a safe, effective way to save a tooth that would otherwise need to be extracted.
Research in the last century or so has found that root canals are only really safe and effective if the canal is 100% clear of bacteria. Other studies have shown that complete sterilization is impossible. Holistic dentists also point to the toxicity of many of the chemicals used to attempt to kill bacteria in the canal, including formaldehyde. Bacteria that survive the attempt can multiply and enter the bloodstream, leading to breast cancer, heart disease and many other health issues. Many holistic dentists do not perform root canals.
Traditional dentists encourage the use of fluoride, both topically and internally. They promote adding fluoride to the water supply and recommend giving fluoride drops to infants. Some research shows a decrease in cavities in areas with fluoridated water.
Other studies show that ingesting fluoride does not benefit teeth and is linked to cancer and problems with bone health. Too much fluoride has been shown to cause fluorosis. Holistic dentists argue that adding fluoride to the water is tantamount to forced, one size fits all medication of the public. Topical use of fluoride is less controversial, and some holistic dentists use it, while others do not.
Many traditional dentists will not test you to make sure that you will not have a reaction to the materials they intend to use. Unless you have an allergy or have previously had a reaction to a material, most traditional dentists will not give you a choice of materials, nor will they discuss the options with you.
Many holistic dentists have equipment they can use to make sure that they use materials on your teeth that will not cause a reaction. Most holistic dentists also have a variety of materials they can use for fillings, as well as for other procedures.
To Sum it Up:
These are just a few of the differences in philosophies between holistic and traditional dentistry. Though you can’t always tell whether a dentist is holistic based just on what they call themselves, and it’s hard to define them topically, the topical differences make it easier to understand and differentiate.
The real difference between holistic and traditional dentistry is in the philosophy. Traditional dentistry treats teeth and gums with a goal of not having symptoms return. Holistic dentistry doesn’t stop at treating symptoms, rather it seeks to identify and treat the underlying causes of symptoms. As much as possible, holistic dentists strive to ensure that the work they do will not adversely impact the overall health of the patient.
How Can You Know What Kind of Dentist is Right for You and Your Family?
If the difference isn’t in the name, or even entirely in the practices, but the philosophy, how do you choose a dentist that is right for you? Finding a dentist who has a philosophy that is similar to yours is simply a matter of asking questions. Ask questions like “How do you decide what type of filling to use?” or “Why do I get cavities in one specific area of my mouth?” If you are talking to a holistic dentist, they will talk to you about how your oral health fits into your overall health. If you are talk to a traditional dentist, the answers will revolve more around your symptoms and will focus primarily on your teeth, to the exclusion of other health matters.
You have a right to know what is going on, and a responsibility to ask questions and be informed. You are never under any obligation to blindly trust your dentist. Most dentists are decent people who want the best for their patients, but not all dentists recognize that what is best for one patient may not be best for the next one. There are always alternatives. You have a right, no a duty, to be an active participant in your own health care. In the end, you’re the one who has to live with it, not your dentist.
*Naturopathic license not current in California