Find a Holistic Dentist in Seattle
A Dentist is a healthcare professional licensed to treat conditions, diseases and disorders of the oral cavity, maxillo-facial region, and associated structures. Many dental procedures are centered around care for the teeth and gums. A large portion of a dentist's profession is education of the patient in the care of their oral cavity. Dentists may prescribe antibiotics, anesthesia, and narcotic pain relievers. Most non-cosmetic dental procedures are covered in part by dental insurance.
In the United States, dentists earn either a D.D.S. (Doctor of Dental Surgery) or D.M.D. (Doctor of Dental Medicine) degree. Both degrees are equivalent and equally recognized by all licensing boards. The most common degree awarded by dental schools is the D.D.S. degree with only a few East coast schools offering the D.M.D. degree. In the United States dentists must first complete a B.A. or B.S. degree before entering dental school. Dental school is four years in duration, and all dentists must pass National Boards, Regional Boards, and then take a jurisprudence exam accepted by their state to fullfill their requirements to get a state license.
General Dental Practice includes most examination, diagnosis, treatment planning, treatment, and prevention of disease. The dentist frequently uses X-rays and other diagnostic equipment such as cameras to ensure correct diagnosis and treatment planning. Treatment may include filling dental cavities, removing the nerves of teeth (R.C.T or root canal treatment), treating diseases of the gums, removing teeth (extraction), and replacing lost teeth with bridges and dentures (dental plates). Dentists may administer anesthesia in any treatment that might cause pain. Teeth may be filled with gold or silver amalgams, cements, and with fused porcelain inlays. Dentists treat diseases of the mouth and gums such as trench mouth and periodontitis. An important part of general dental practice is preventive dentistry and patient education. When visiting a dentist at regular intervals, disease may be detected and treated before it becomes serious. Dentists also demonstrate proper methods of brushing and flossing the teeth. They may advise their patients about what food to eat or to avoid for good dental health. Dentists may also treat teeth with fluorides or other substances to prevent tooth decay.
Dentists may go on for further training in a dental specialty, which require an additional 1 to 7 years of post-doctoral training. There are 9 recognized dental specialties in the United States. They are Endodontics (root canal treatment), Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology, Pediatric Dentistry, Periodontics (gums), Prosthodontics (complicated dental reconstruction), Orthodontics (moving teeth), Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (tooth removal and surgery of the oral and related structures), and Dental Public Health. There is no specialty in esthetic dentistry or implantology, and no additional training is required for a dentist to make the claim of being an esthetic or cosmetic dentist. They may limit their practices to a single area of dentistry, and claim that their practice is limited to that area.
Holistic Dentists are dentists that provide alternatives to conventional dental techniques and procedures. They go through the same schooling, licensing, and have the same practice scope. However, as a practice choice they choose low or non-toxic procedures and materials. Some holistic dentists specialize in mercury amalgam removal and less toxic replacement fillings. Philosophically, many holistic dentists consider the individual as a whole when treating.
Most dentists are in private practice. However, there are dentists working for public health agencies, the military, hospitals, and in managed care settings. Dentists may also work in research, teaching dental school, consulting for insurance, and may be on call in hospitals for emergencies due to trauma to the mouth and teeth. Dentistry is considered to be a good profession due to its high demand, compensation, and regular working hours.
Author: Christopher Holder, ND Candidate '07