What’s So Integrated in Integrated Dentistry?
Posted on Monday, July 7th, 2008
We describe our office as one that practices “integrated, biological dentistry.” But what does it mean, exactly, when a practitioner uses those adjectives?
Broadly speaking, biological dentistry considers the teeth, jaws and oral tissues in their physical and energetic relationships with the rest of the body. More, it acknowledges that we are each an infinitely complex unity of body, mind and spirit. But over the past few years, “integrated” (sometimes “integrative”) has become the preferred adjective for this kind of dentistry. And when you take a moment to think about the terms it replaces, you’ll understand why.
For years, biological dentistry – like acupuncture, homeopathy and other allied therapies – was called a form of “alternative medicine.” And, in fact, what the biological dentist offers is an alternative to conventional Western medicine (CWM). But “alternative” not only suggests something out of the mainstream; it reinforces the power of CWM. It’s like someone telling you, “Don’t think of an elephant.” Suddenly, you can’t seem to think of anything but an elephant. And so “alternative medicine” brings its opposite to mind: CWM. The term misdirects our focus.
“Holistic” is a bit more accurate. It signifies a total approach – body, mind and spirit – and also a natural approach. Yet there is its shortcoming. While giving a nod to these aspects, it neglects the role of standard clinical practice. This is key when it comes to treatments such as mercury removal. Standard clinical practice is joined with holistic practice to provide safe removal, replacement and full support for detoxification and healing. Such a union is suggested by a more recently coined term: Complementary and Alternative Medicine, or CAM. But now we’re back to where we started with the problems of the word “alternative.”
Thus, “integrated.” First, this word describes you – and every individual seen in a practice like ours. Body, mind and soul are integrated and indivisible. The whole person must be seen and provided for. The word also points to the blend of standard clinical practice and natural, traditional remedies used in biological dentistry. The remedies and treatments likewise do not stand apart from each other. They are brought together to support your body’s own ability to heal and regenerate. Nor do we look at symptoms and dysfunction in isolation but as a totality.
Everything is a totality. Everything is integrated. Everything informs – and is informed by – everything else.
This is what it means to be whole.