Originally, the word wholistic was used to describe the relationship of body, mind and spirit.
Eventually, this evolved into the term “holistic” and focused on the importance of the whole rather than individual parts. It’s plain to see how vital the interdependence of all the parts of any system, but especially within the human body.
This idea really sank in during my first year of dental school as our first class was gross anatomy with the medical school students (interestingly, this is where I first met my wife). We had the opportunity to dissect an entire cadaver and it was amazing to see how our bodies were created with a very definite plan in mind. It’s clear to see that the blood that flows to our brain, our heart, our liver, our kidneys and muscles all flows into our teeth, gums and TMJ’s as well. No part of the body functions alone and independent. Without question, the body functions as a whole.
Yet, when we look at our medical system, everything is divided into parts. There are doctors who treat the heart, the digestive system, the eyes, the skin, etc. Looking at how this is organized, one would think there was little or no relation between all these parts. There could be nothing further from the truth.
The same is true within dentistry as there are specialists that treat gum disease, those that straighten teeth and those that do surgery all working (mostly) independently of each other. Sadly, the entire system is moving away from “Holistic” care to a much more fragmented approach. Each specialist is tasked with “treating” the symptoms of disease rather than looking at the cause. As our medical and dental systems become more and more specialized, it appears that this trend will only continue.
So, if we approach the practice of dentistry from a holistic/biologic point of view, it just makes sense that patients be involved in all decisions that are made to develop appropriate treatment plans. This participation cultivates an interdependent relationship, by which the patient assumes responsibility for their own health and helps them understand the vital role that they play in achieving healthy outcomes. After closely observing many patients’ journeys toward health, it is my opinion that the more control the patient has in this journey, the greater the chance that they will achieve the outcomes that are most important to them. I am simply here to be your advocate and do all I can to help you reach the level of health that you aspire to.