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How Do Integrative and Traditional Dental Medicine Differ?

In traditional dentistry, your dentist focuses solely on your teeth, gums, tongue, and jawbone. The problem with that approach is that these structures are part of a complex system. Everything that goes on with your body ultimately shows up in your teeth, too.

As an expert and innovator in integrative dental medicine, Dana J. Rockey, DMD, works with your other health care providers to improve your health, from top to toe, and in between. At our South County Sleep Solutions office in Newport Beach, California, you’ll immediately see and feel the difference between traditional and integrative dentistry. And your teeth will thank you.

Why traditional dentistry is incomplete

It may seem obvious now that you think about it, but your teeth aren’t discrete structures that exist apart from the rest of your body. Your teeth are anchored in your gums and jawbones, are fed by the blood vessels that course throughout your body, and are influenced by every other organ in your system.

Traditional dentists, though, act as if your teeth are as separate from you as the dental models that sit in their offices. If you have a decayed tooth, they clean the decay and stabilize the tooth. If you have periodontal disease, they treat your gums.

Such an approach, however, neglects to account for what caused your periodontal disease or decayed tooth in the first place. Although good oral health habits — brushing at least twice daily, flossing daily, seeing your dentist at least twice a year — certainly contribute to good oral health, they’re not sufficient to keep your teeth and gums in excellent health for life.

Your diet affects your teeth

You might think that changing your diet to change your teeth sounds a little “new age” and “woo-woo.” But the connection between the foods you eat and the health of your teeth is well recognized by the medical and dental professionals. 

You’re probably familiar with the American Dental Association’s (ADA) recommendations to cut out sugar and minimize acidic foods and drinks. You might be surprised, though, that they also publish a list of foods and beverages that promote dental health. 

As an integrative dentist, Dr. Rockey goes beyond making recommendations. If you have swollen gums, bleeding gums, decayed teeth, or other evidence of dental or periodontal disease, he works with you to improve your nutrition, so that your body gets the materials it needs to create strong, healthy teeth, gums, and jawbone. 

He asks you about your diet and other lifestyle choices so he can help you make better ones that reduce inflammation and promote health. He custom designs a nutrition program that works with your dietary needs and preferences. If you’re overweight, Dr. Rockey recommends lifestyle changes to help you attain a healthy weight without feeling starved or deprived.

Your lifestyle affects your teeth

If you’re a smoker, Dr. Rockey helps you quit. Not only does smoking put you at risk for serious medical issues such as heart disease and stroke, it also dries out your oral tissues, increasing your risk for periodontal disease. He may refer you to a smoking cessation expert or program to ease you into being smoke free.

Your teeth, like your muscles and all of your organs, benefit when you exercise regularly. Exercise enhances your intake of oxygen and also boosts the circulation of your blood throughout your body, including in your gums and oral tissues.

Because Dr. Rockey is a sleep disorder specialist in addition to being a dentist, he may make recommendations to improve your sleep, so that you get the rest and restoration you need each night. He may also advise regular deep-breathing exercises or meditation to decrease your level of stress.

Integrative dentists are part of your team

Dr. Rockey, as an integrative dentist, considers all of your health care providers to be an essential part of optimizing your oral health. Dr. Rockey works with your primary care physician and any specialists you currently see to help control underlying conditions that could affect your oral health, including diabetes.

Together, Dr. Rockey and your other providers work to enhance your health. His goal is to help you achieve overall wellness so that you better manage any diseases you currently have, reduce your risk for future disease, and improve your well-being.

If you’re ready to improve your oral and overall health through integrative dental medicine, 

Call our office today or use our convenient online booking form. We do telehealth appointments, too. 

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