Holistic dentists claim that their treatments of deep cleaning, teeth scaling and root planing—the scraping away of plaque and tartar from gums—is a different method of treatment and preventative maintenance than you would receive from your conventional dentist and is an alternative to the “traditional” surgical treatment provided by conventional dentists. Not so.
In fact, cleaning, scaling and planing is standard preventative treatment for conventional dentists and dental specialists. If a conventional dentist can maintain oral health through these means and a specific tooth cleaning at-home protocol there will be no need for surgical treatment. Surgical treatment is only used as a last resort, not a “standard” treatment. If the non-invasive measures (cleaning, scaling and planing) are not completely successful, surgery may still be indicated. Non-invasive measures do not automatically preclude the possibility that surgery may be required in the future. For most patients, the non-invasive preventative measures will be sufficient. For others, they will not.
This is perhaps the most obvious difference between holistic and conventional dentistry. Conventional dentistry still espouses that fluoride in water and other sources is necessary for healthy teeth. Holistic dentistry argues otherwise (this debate is presented in my article, The Fluoride Debate: http://www.empowher.com/news/herarticle/2009/09/10/fluoride-debate) and advocates for the removal of fluoridization from the water treatment process.
Holistic dentistry purposes that occlusal adjustment, physical therapy, and medications are more non-invasive measures for treating TMJ issues. TMJ issues usually stem from a “malocclusion”—a misalignment of the teeth or jaws and compromising chewing efficiency or parafunctional habits (grinding, clenching) or injury to the orofacial complex. If your teeth and jaws are not optimally aligned, this can put undue pressure and stress on jaw muscles, ligaments, and joint structures.