How Do Holistic Dentists Approach Tooth Extractions?

Holistic Dentists Approach Tooth Extractions

Tooth extractions are sometimes necessary. However, they are often anxiety-inducing for many patients. 

So, how exactly do holistic dentists approach tooth extractions? Here is what you should know. 

Why Do Teeth Sometimes Need to be Extracted?

There are various reasons why your dentist may recommend extracting a tooth. Some common reasons include:

  • Severe tooth decay/infection – If decay reaches the inner pulp and blood vessels of a tooth, root canal treatment may not be enough to save it.
  • Crowding/impaction – Wisdom teeth often become impacted or crowded. Extracting them can relieve pain and prevent further dental problems.
  • Cysts/tumors – Abnormal tissue growth on tooth roots may require extraction.
  • Fractures – Bad breaks below the gumline can’t be repaired with a crown and may call for tooth removal.
  • Orthodontics – Extracting teeth creates room for straightening crowded teeth with braces.
  • Prior to dental implants – Removing diseased teeth and roots prepares the jawbone to integrate dental implants.

How Do Holistic Dentists Approach Extractions Differently?

Holistic dentists have additional training in complementary therapies and non-toxic treatment methods. They incorporate holistic principles into their approach to tooth extractions in the following key ways:

1. Determine If Extraction is Absolutely Necessary

Holistic dentists don’t default directly to extraction just because a tooth is compromised. They first consider whether integrative methods could help save it instead. This may involve:

  • Trying biological dentistry techniques like ozone therapy to disinfect decay and promote healing
  • Removing amalgam fillings that could be causing inflammation at the root
  • Addressing gum disease to improve bone support around a loosening tooth
  • Using alternative filling materials to avoid harmful metals
  • Checking for issues that could impact oral health

Generally, the key to understanding what a holistic approach means for your dentist is appreciating the fact that they will choose the least damaging path to dealing with dental problems. And since extraction is on the extreme end, they will not choose it as an option unless it is absolutely necessary.

2. Use Precise Surgical Techniques

All dentists are trained in extraction methods, but holistic dentists prioritize precision and gentleness to protect surrounding bone and tissue. They may use magnifying loupes, dental microscopes, or advanced CBCT imaging to visualize the tooth’s anatomy.

Their extraction techniques aim to leave as much bone intact as possible for healing and potential future implants or bridges. This helps maintain the structural integrity and shape of the jaw over time.

To minimize tissue injury, they make small incisions and use specialized dental elevators. These are tools shaped perfectly to separate the tooth and loosen it gently out of its socket.

3. Support Bone Remodeling Post-Extraction

After an extraction, holistic dentists are uniquely focused on facilitating bone regeneration. They may recommend grafting the socket with bone-stimulating natural materials like collagen.

Their integrative therapies also target bone remodeling by improving nutrition, reducing inflammation, and balancing hormones related to calcium metabolism. These efforts help prevent excessive bone loss over time (aka “melting” of the jawbone).

4. Speed Healing of Soft Tissue

Holistic oral surgeons use dissolvable sutures to close extraction sites carefully for faster wound closure. They may then prescribe botanical medicines, homeopathic tissue remedies, or therapeutic-grade essential oils to encourage mucosal tissue regeneration.

Good vitamin C intake and avoiding smoking are also emphasized following extractions. These support new blood vessels and connective tissue formation to quickly seal the wound.

5. Address Whole-Body Effects

Losing a tooth is an injury to the body – even when done intentionally through extraction. Holistic dentists acknowledge the physical and emotional trauma extraction involves.

They tailor aftercare based on the patient’s whole health picture to mitigate common side effects like:

  • Discomfort and inflammation
  • Jaw joint pain or bite changes
  • Nutritional deficiencies from altered eating
  • Immune system disruption
  • Stress, anxiety, or depressed mood

This biologic, functional medicine approach is unique to holistic dentistry. It’s aimed at supporting the body’s innate healing capacity after extraction stress.

What About Wisdom Tooth Extractions?

Wisdom teeth (third molars) are extracted more frequently than any other teeth. They tend to erupt later in life as the jaw stops growing and often lack adequate room. Fully or partially impacted wisdom teeth can cause recurrent pain, infection, cysts, or decay in nearby teeth.

Holistic dentists still recommend wisdom tooth removal when clearly implicated. However, they also recognize that not everyone has problematic third molars. They weigh the pros and cons more carefully rather than universally extracting all wisdom teeth out of convention.

If wisdom tooth extraction is warranted, holistic oral surgeons follow similar holistic extraction principles:

  • Careful surgical technique to avoid bone and nerve damage
  • Focusing on infection prevention and rapid healing
  • Supporting bone remodeling over time
  • Managing inflammation naturally
  • Attending to whole-body impacts

This integrative approach supports recovery while lowering risks for chronic issues like dry socket or nerve pain.

What About Dental Implants After Extractions?

Many patients opt to replace missing teeth with dental implants – artificial tooth roots fused to the jawbone. Holistic dentists take biological considerations into account with implants too.

If bone loss occurred with the extraction, they may recommend waiting until natural bone regeneration occurs or using biological grafting materials. This allows a strong base for the implant.

They then select non-toxic implant materials compatible with body tissues and may coat implants with bone-stimulating growth factors. Custom-milled ceramic zirconia implants are popular choices to avoid metal sensitivity reactions.

During the critical osseointegration period when the implant integrates with bone, holistic dentists emphasize excellent oral hygiene, bone-building nutrition, and limiting physical stress. They tailor supportive therapies to each patient’s needs to help the body accept the implant.

What About Potential Issues After Extractions?

While holistic precautions aim to prevent issues, extractions do sometimes have complications including:

  • Dry socket – Delayed healing with bone exposed can be painful. Rinsing with salt water may help.
  • Bleeding – Some minor seepage is normal but excessive bleeding warrants attention.
  • Nerve damage – On rare occasions, lingual or inferior alveolar nerves may be injured. This may cause tongue or lip numbness.
  • Sinus issues – Upper molar roots extending near the maxillary sinus can sometimes cause a sinus infection or opening that requires treatment.

Thankfully these issues are relatively uncommon, especially with the preventive efforts holistic dentists take. But informing patients about possible problems empowers them to seek prompt help if needed.

Frequently Asked Questions About Holistic Tooth Extractions

1. Do holistic dentists use anesthesia for extractions?

Yes, holistic dentists prioritize patient comfort and will use local anesthesia to numb the area for any extraction. They may also offer laughing gas (nitrous oxide) or oral sedation for anxious patients. Their goal is to make the procedure as minimally stressful and painless as possible.

2. What holistic aftercare is recommended following extractions?

Holistic dentists tailor aftercare based on each patient’s needs. They often advise anti-inflammatory foods and herbs, bone broths, vitamin C and zinc supplementation, salt water rinses, and getting adequate rest to support healing. They also address any nutritional, hormonal, or emotional health factors that could slow recovery.

3. How can I find a holistic dentist skilled in tooth extractions?

The International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT) has a searchable directory for finding holistic and biological dentists across the globe. You can search for one experienced in extractions and oral surgery specifically. The IABDM and ICOMT are also good holistic dental organizations.

4. Is the cost of holistic extractions higher than conventional ones?

Holistic dental fees are comparable to traditional dental rates. What you “pay” is a bit more time on the front end addressing underlying factors related to why the tooth needs extraction. Any extra medicinals, grafts, or aftercare therapies may involve small additional costs as well. However, the focus is efficacy over economics.

5. Is the healing time with holistic extractions faster?

Healing time is generally comparable for routine cases. However, attention to biological factors that accelerate wound closure and bone remodeling can speed post-extraction recovery. Supporting the body’s innate healing capacity is the priority rather than just extracting and sending patients on their way.

6. Do holistic dentists recommend alternatives to implants like bridges?

Holistic dentists present both the pros and cons of all tooth replacement options – from implant-supported dentures to conventional bridges. The choice depends on your specific bone anatomy, budget, and personal preferences. They aim to educate patients fully so that choices align with health and lifestyle.

The Takeaway

For holistic dentists, avoiding unnecessary extractions is the priority. But when needed, they use techniques to preserve surrounding structures and promote faster healing.

This whole-body approach aims to maintain oral function and comfort while supporting patients emotionally and physically after losing a tooth. With holistic guidance, extractions can be an opportunity for positive transformation!