Despite the tremendous advances in medical and dental care over the last century, many people still feel drawn to alternative treatments and remedies. Holistic dentistry, as it is called, refers to the philosophy of treating dental disease by taking into account factors other than the immediate symptoms. A common phrase associated with holistic dentistry is “treatment of the whole person.” Although the intentions and convictions of holistic dentistry are noble, unfortunately, holistic dentistry often involves many unproven, ineffective treatments for serious dental problems.
For instance, holistic dentists often prescribe herbal remedies that have no basis in fact or scientific evidence as it relates to treating dental disease. Some holistic dentists even go so far to eschew the use of fluoride, a substance that has been definitely proven to reduce the incidence of tooth decay when administered in safe amounts. The practice of holistic dentistry also involves the use of select materials, which are considered to be “natural” or safer to the patient, despite scientific evidence proving as much.
Not surprisingly, adherents to the philosophies of holistic dentistry generally consider root canals to be dangerous, unnatural procedures that can pose harm to patients. This belief, of course, is absurd considering that root canals not only save teeth from extraction, they eradicate harmful infections. Bacterial infections that go untreated can cause a litany of problems, and severe cases of sepsis can be fatal. Antibiotics are the only way to kill bacteria, and root canals are the only way to permanently eliminate bacterial infections of teeth.
While there is certainly a place in dentistry for many holistic concepts, such as prevention and the treatment of patients as whole person, the clinical principles of holistic dentistry are not only ineffective, they are dangerous. This is especially true for abscessed teeth. There is only one proven treatment for bacterial abscesses: root canal treatment. Do not risk losing your tooth—or worse—when it comes to choosing holistic dentistry over endodontic treatment.