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Natural Awakenings of the Coastal Carolinas

The Nature of Holistic Dentistry

Wilmington Holistic Dentistry defines holistic dentistry as dentistry with a focus on safe materials. It’s not a specialty of dentistry; rather, it’s a scope of general dental practice. Dentistry is traditionally a profession where doctors “create voids” in teeth and fill them with foreign materials. These materials range from mercury-laden metals to BPA-containing plastics. Wilmington Holistic Dentistry focuses on selecting safe materials and even offers patients biocompatibility tests through Biocompatibility Laboratories if they desire. Additionally, Wilmington Holistic Dentistry expands the definition of holistic dentistry to understand the role of dentistry in whole body health and each patient that is cared for obtains a full assessment of health status prior to the recommendation of any restorative dentistry.  

We recognize the need for safe and healthy alternatives to dentistry and we offer IAOMT-accredited and SMART mercury-filling removals. We offer some pH testing and nutritional counseling, fluoride free dentistry and ozone therapy. We also have a three-dimensional cone beam radiograph to assess airways and bony defects, such as cavitation’s and failing root canals. Patients may find the care they receive in the practice to be detail oriented with clear explanations of treatment with full risks and benefits.

Healing Cavities
One of the most common questions asked in dental practice is how to reverse cavities. I’ve spent years researching this topic and I have come up with several ideas. First, we have to understand that cavities are a bacterial infiltration of the tooth structure. When a cavity is early and is confined to the enamel, it has the potential to be arrested or reversed. Unfortunately, once a cavity penetrates the dentinal tissue, it can no longer be reversed and it needs to be treated.
Like all aspects of life, and teeth are no different, there are only some things you can control: diet and nutrition, oral hygiene and remineralization. First, an alkaline diet, which can be measured using oral pH strips (our target is 7.25 or above for the oral cavity) creates and environment where healthy bacteria grow and those acid-loving cavities bacteria don't care to be. 

Nutritionally, a diet that contains Vitamins D3 and K2 are great for teeth—both of these are fat-soluble vitamins so consult your physician for proper dosage.  

Secondly, oral hygiene is extremely important. Brush twice daily for a solid two minutes and floss at least once. Thirdly, we will talk about early cavities remineralization. If the first two don’t go well or you want to be ahead of the curve, there are several ways to re-mineralize your teeth. Traditionally, dentistry runs to fluoride; however, some less toxic alternatives are dicalcium phosphate (the fancy name for eggshell calcium) common in the dental product MI Paste and many other dental products, Advantage Arrest, xylitol gums and mints and ozone therapy. Just remember that regular dental cleanings can catch cavities early, when they are in a re-mineralize able state.

Dr. Jessica Shireman, DMD AIOMT, originally from Kansas City, loves to cook and travel and has visited five continents. She is married and lives in Wilmington with her husband, John and three kids: a 6-year old and 4-year old twins. She completed her undergraduate education at Grinnell College, in Iowa, and dental school at Nova Southeastern University, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She has been practicing holistic dentistry for several years in Raleigh and is excited to be in Wilmington. She has numerous patents and scientific publications and is an active member of the IAOMT, the Holistic Dental Association and many online holistic groups. She believes the field is rapidly growing and changing and completes far more continuing education than required. She is currently studying the role of the oral cavity in airway health which affects overall health. Location: Wilmington Holistic Dentistry, 6200 Oleander Dr., Wilmington. For more information, call 910-777-4020 or visit See ad, page 18.