Though modern American dentistry has progressed far from its origins of using wooden teeth, there are still areas where it lags behind the rest of the medical world. What’s missing? Integrated Health Care – treating a person as a whole instead of a collection of symptoms and diseases. This is becoming more and more critical to our well-being. When modern American dentistry only addresses the symptoms of a patient, it can miss the bodywide effects that dentistry can have.

Ultimately, the best dentistry is no dentistry, because this is an invasive step towards health; however, once "dis"ease in the mouth has begun, intervention becomes necessary. Successful dentistry is like building a house; the structure upon which the house is built needs to be solid, not compromised by other factors that create additional stresses on the "system." Some modern dental procedures and philosophies are less than ideal from a Holistic Dental point of view, and they may create those very stresses that can compromise the health of the patient. Key points to be aware of when evaluating proposed dental procedures (from any dentist), while taking Holistic philosophies into consideration are: use only the least toxic dental materials, avoid unnecessary extractions for orthodontic purposes, begin orthodontics as early as possible (first orthodontic check around 3 years old), reduce/limit possibility of oral infections (root canal and cavitations), take care to ensure dental cranial freedom when making dental healthcare decisions.

Dentistry has the ability to positively or negatively impact nearly every aspect of your life. Here are some of the positive affects dentistry can have: reduction of head, neck, back, jaw, and tooth pain, sleep apnea/snoring elimination, improved digestion, elimination of depression (and other mental dysfunctions), improved memory and ability to concentrate, cessation of bed wetting, as well as reduced ear infections, dizziness and vertigo…and the list goes on! On the other hand, dentistry can also cause each one of these symptoms. I do not ask you to believe this information at face value; instead, I ask you to be open-minded and educate yourself, and then decide what you believe. On a daily basis, I see amazing stories of people who have had multiple doctors tell them "You are crazy," only to achieve relief through dental treatment and other integrative care.

Lastly, a Whole Person Dentist is first and foremost a dentist who works mainly in your mouth. This means he/she will need to work closely in cooperation with other health professionals who can also help guide the patient to optimal health and well-being. It is this cooperation and understanding which can enable you to be healthier than you may have thought possible.

"HOLISTIC DENTISTRY: IS THE KEY TO OPTIMAL HEALTH HIDDEN IN YOUR MOUTH?" with DR. JOHN LAUGHLIN – 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 8, tickets $10 now, $15 at door – Dr. John Laughlin’s practice in Pierce County, Wisc., gradually evolved from traditional dentistry into a more holistic philosophy. During his first five years of private practice in Ellsworth, Wisc., Dr. Laughlin came to believe that there was more to dentistry than what he had been taught. He took advanced training in TMJ therapy, orthopedic orthodontics, cranial sacral therapy, bodywork / massage, nutrition, pain management, safe amalgam removal and biological / environmental dentistry. He continues to learn, spending 200-300 hours in class every year. He has published original articles and textbooks, as well as education materials for doctors and patients. Visit www.healthcentereddentistry.com

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