If you find yourself Googling Natural Dentist, you won’t find much about it from the American Dental Association. The field of natural dentistry is not taught in dental schools and is not recognized as a specialty (like orthodontists, oral surgeons, or pediatric dentists).

In fact, ask any dentist about natural dentistry and he or she will give you the deer in the headlights look because they’ve never heard of it before.

Today, more and more people are flocking to health food stores, heading to juice bars, and choosing alternative medicine (including alternative dentistry) before going the more traditional routes… even if it costs more.  Smart consumers are beginning to understand the beneficial effects of proper nutrition, regular exercise, and maintaining a health-conscious lifestyle.

Unlike the dentistry you knew growing up, natural dentistry, also known as biological or holistic dentistry, is catching on in many progressive areas such as Southern California.  Dr. Marvin Pantangco is a dentist who has carefully chosen the path less traveled to pursue a career in natural dentistry.  Dr. Marvin, as his patients call him, decided that the best dentistry is one where the dentist treats the whole patient, not just teeth and gums.  “The focus of Natural Dentistry is on improving health… Whereas traditional dentistry focuses on filling holes in teeth, cleaning teeth to prevent gum disease, and replacing missing teeth,” Says Dr. Marvin.

One reason for going to a natural dentist over a regular dentist is based on how they diagnose tooth problems.  Most dentists simply view the obvious, such as a hole or cavity in the tooth, and then recommend a treatment.  A good natural dentist, however, talks about the cause of the cavity and discuses what can be done to prevent further problems.  You could say that natural dentists ask better questions like “What is the root cause of your symptoms?” while regular dentists jump straight to treatment options that may or may not address the cause of the problems.

Natural Dentists also are more mindful of how they treat patients.  Dr. Marvin uses strict protocols when drilling out old, mercury fillings.  Since many patients are aware of the dangers of mercury fillings and may be quite sensitive to toxic mercury itself, Dr. Marvin utilizes over 20 precautions to keep the patient from ingesting additional mercury vapor particles.  Another strategy natural dentists employ is called “slow drilling.”  This technique minimizes the amount of heat generated from drilling close to tooth nerves and can “save” the tooth from a lot of pain and possibly a root canal.  Regular dentists are not taught these techniques in dental school so they are not a part of their regular routine.

Lastly, natural dentists use dental materials that are in general safer to use.  Dental cements, metal braces, disinfection solutions, mercury silver fillings, metal implants, and fluoride, to name a few, are all examples of dental materials used in peoples’ mouths that can be harmful to their health.  In dental school, dentists are taught to choose the best dental material based on durability and aesthetics, but not on what natural dentists call “Biocompability”, which is how the body can react to the dental material.  Often times, the patient can be allergic or sensitive to the dental material but the dentist and patient is unaware of its effect.

Going to the dentist is completely different nowadays.  The public is getting smarter about health and are making choices that can affect their future.  When choosing a dentist, people are making decisions based on similar belief systems.