Integrative dentistry is an exciting new perspective for your regular dental check-ups. Rather than just looking at your mouth and trying to keep it healthy in isolation, an integrative dentist (also known as a holistic dentist or biological dentist) looks at the way your mouth impacts your overall health. Integrative dentists recognize that good oral health is only a single element of what’s needed to optimize your wellbeing.
When we discuss the best treatment for your dental issues, we’ll also take factors like mental health, sleep disorders, behavioral disorders, lifestyle, diet and more into consideration. We also actively look for natural alternatives to traditional treatment methodologies when they are proven to be effective. We always prefer to use the least invasive techniques possible to reduce damage and protect you from chemical exposure.
Of course, integrative dentists do all the things you expect from a normal dentist. They can take care of all your dental issues, including:
- Clinical and radiographic examination for hidden dental problems
- Inspecting the teeth for cavities and any signs of wear and tear
- Inspect the gums for signs of gingivitis or gum disease
- Professional teeth cleaning
- Emergency dentistry
- And much more.
We simply recognize that the mouth is the gateway to the body, and that by taking care of the mouth, we can help optimize whole-body health.
How Dr. Mandanas became an integrative dentist
Dr. Owen Mandanas worked as a general dentist for 17 years. Eight years ago, however, she began helping people with sleep disorders, through the use of dental appliances. We’ve discussed the treatment of disorders like sleep apnea in our blog before – you can read more about it here. Dr. Mandanas particularly likes the use of alternatives to CPAP machines, such as mandibular advancement devices. These devices push the jaw forward while you sleep, which helps to keep your airway open.
This experience led her to look into other ways she as a dentist could help patients in other ways. Her view of the role dentistry plays in healthcare more widely began to change as she began studying new techniques and working with other holistic practitioners, including medical doctors, nurse practitioners, naturopaths, and chiropractors.
Today, Dr. Mandanas is affiliated with multiple professional organizations, in both traditional dentistry and integrative dentistry. These include the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine and the Academy of Clinical Sleep Disorders Disciplines, and the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology, which awards the SMART certification for mercury amalgam filling removal (click here to read more).
Why not just see a normal dentist and a doctor?
There are lots of advantages to seeing an integrative dentist, but the most important reason to choose this option is because they are more aware of the impact dental issues have on the rest of the body than a traditional dentist. Often, they may identify potential issues that you can then raise with your doctor. It doesn’t matter what the issue is; early detection and prevention is always the best way to optimize and protect your health.
What types of issues can integrative dentists address?
Sleep apnea is just one example of this, because Dr. Mandanas can suggest different treatment options you can talk through with your physician. This is a large part of her practice, and she’s passionate about studying craniofacial anatomy and development. She approaches every new patient with an open mind and is committed to finding the right solution for you.
Oral microbiome is another. Your mouth is home to the second most diverse community of micro-organisms in your body, after your gut. In fact, more than 700 species of bacteria live on the hard and soft surfaces of your teeth. The balance can be disturbed by external factors, such as your diet, which can cause problems like gum disease. This is something we can talk about during a routine appointment. Read more about it here.
Oral health also has an impact on serious diseases like diabetes, which comes with risks of periodontal disease. This is the name of a common infection of the gums that can lead to bone loss in the jaw and teeth. It starts as plaque and causes inflammation of the gums as it progresses. Diabetics with severe periodontal disease have an increased risk of things like kidney disease, heart attack, stroke and eye issues. Click here to read more.
These are just a few examples, but hopefully they help explain the “big picture” of dentistry. It’s not enough just to look after your oral health, you need to view your mouth as the gateway to whole-body health.
Want to learn more about integrative dentistry? Get in touch today!