Choosing a Holistic Dentist
What is a holistic dentist?
A holistic dentist is also a biological dentist who often has an understanding of the interplay between oral and systemic health and keenly understands the role of infections and chronic inflammation in the body.
Holistic dentists often share general beliefs including:
- Mercury is a toxic neurotoxin and amalgam fillings should be avoided and replaced with a stringent safety protocol
- amalgam fillings can be dangerous to the body
- fluoride is a neurotoxin
- root canals can often become infected and cause low-grade inflammation
- metals in the mouth can cause inflammation and allergic “host” responses
- biocompatible materials should be used whenever possible
- all metals should be avoided for dental work
- chronic low-grade chronic infections, otherwise known as dental cavitations, should be evaluated
- ozone is a powerful, naturally occurring antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal agent that helps reduce inflammation and fight infections
- periodontal inflammation and disease can be a symptom of autoimmune disorders
Choosing the Right Holistic Dentist
When it comes to choosing the best biological or holistic dentist in the United States, it is best to start with the source, IAOMT.Org or IABDM.org, both of which are recognized as the global professional body of knowledge and professional association for all things holistic dentistry. The IAOMT.org is the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology, and focuses on the dangers of fluoride and mercury in amalgam fillings, with a secondary focus on toxicity and dangers of root canals. IAOMT is a global organization with chapters all over the world. The IABDM is the International Academy of Biological Dentistry and Medicine and similarly focuses on educating about the dangers of fluoride, mercury, amalgam fillings, and root canal therapy.
It is important to understand that IAOMT base-level membership is available to all dentists and is in no way an indication of the dentists’ training or level of practice or knowledge of biological dentistry. The same is true for IABDM membership. A more telling indication of dentists’ level of knowledge and training is certification with IAOMT, which is both Accreditation (AIAOMT title) and S.M.A.R.T. Certification for Safe Amalgam Removal, which are the first steps of becoming a holistic dentist and learning about the neurotoxic element of mercury and how it leaches into the body through hazardous amalgam fillings. Dr. May at Natural Dentistry is both S.M.A.R.T. certified and has been accredited by the IAOMT for over 5 years. SMART Certification takes 6-8 months on average and requires a dentist to finish the “mercury toxicity and safe amalgam removal” curriculum and pass the SMART academic test while also demonstrating in practice the S.M.A.R.T. amalgam removal technique.
The next stage, accreditation by the IOAMT, is a year-long process that includes attending at least two conferences and goes much beyond the written academic test. The accreditation process also includes a mandatory oral examination by a panel of judges made up of IAOMT Masters and Fellows, and the most essential (and discerning) test is the hands-on mercury removal or SAFE amalgam removal in front of the judges. Every element of patient safety and staff safey must be demonstrated and applied in a precise protocol, and any deviation can land in failing the certification process. Only IAOMT Accredited dentists, like Dr. Yuriy May, who is also SMART Certified for SAFE amalgam removal, are permitted to use the letters AIAOMT after their name as a professional credential.
Dr. Yuriy May at Natural Dentistry is S.M.A.R.T. certified, accredited by the IAOMT for over 7 years and IABDM Certfied. Dr. May has been on the board of the IAOMT for years. Dr. May is also part of the IABDM and is Certified by the IABMD, awarded with the C-IABDM designation. Read more about his experience here to learn why Dr. May is a true biological and holistic dentist
What are holistic dentist certifications?
SMART Certified: A S.M.A.R.T.-certified member has successfully completed a course on mercury and safe dental mercury amalgam removal, including two units consisting of scientific readings, online learning videos, and tests. The crux of this essential course on the IAOMT’s Safe Mercury Amalgam Removal Technique (SMART) involves learning about the rigorous safety measures and equipment for reducing exposures to mercury releases during the removal of amalgam fillings. A SMART-certified member may or may not have achieved a higher level of certification such as Accreditation, Fellowship, or Mastership.
Accredited–(AIAOMT): The Accredited member has successfully completed a ten-unit course on biological dentistry, including units on mercury, safe mercury amalgam removal, fluoride, biological periodontal therapy, hidden pathogens in the jawbone and root canals, and more. This course involves an examination of over 50 scientific and medical research articles, participation in an e-learning component of the curriculum which includes ten videos, and demonstration of mastery on ten detailed unit tests. An Accredited member is a member who has also completed the Fundamentals of Biological Dentistry Course and who has attended at least two IAOMT meetings, as well as passed an oral interview exam for safe amalgam removal. Note that the Accredited member may or may not be SMART certified and may or may not have achieved a higher level of certification such as a Fellowship or Mastership. To view the accreditation course description by unit, click here. To learn more about becoming accredited, click here.
Additional levels include IAOMT Fellow, and IAOMT Master designations and typically delineate between more generational biological dentists who as they age, tend to work fewer clinical hours and devote more time to lecturing, publishing and collaborating with colleagues on research. Sometimes Master-level accredited dentists may be non-practicing or retired and work mainly on research projects and publishing.
Fellow–(FIAOMT): A Fellow is a member who has achieved Accreditation and who has submitted one scientific review that has been approved by the Scientific Review Committee. A Fellow has also completed an additional 500 hours of credit in research, education, and/or service beyond that of an Accredited member.
Master–(MIAOMT): A Master is a member who has achieved Accreditation and Fellowship and who has completed 500 hours of credit in research, education, and/or service (in addition to the 500 hours for Fellowship, for a total of 1,000 hours). A Master has also submitted a scientific review that has been approved by the Scientific Review Committee (in addition to the scientific review for Fellowship, for a total of two scientific reviews).
What is the IDEAL level of IAOMT certification of a top holistic dentist?
Short Answer: Find a dentist who is at minimum Accredited with the IAOMT, SMART Certified for safe amalgam removal, and Certified by the IABDM to ensure your needs are being met by a highly trained holistic dentist who has a proven record of knowledge and practice. In our opinion, the ideal level is the SMART Certification and Accredited IAOMT (or higher) certification, both together for a practicing dentist who is fully educated on the dangers of mercury and practices safe amalgam removal. Understandably anyone who is only SMART Certified may not understand the nuance of root canal toxicity and the dangers of leaving root canals in the body, which is why both IAOMT Accreditation and IABDM Certification should be a required attribute when searching for an experienced holistic dentist to remove amalgam fillings safely.
A non-accredited member could also lack the knowledge of true biological dentistry as they haven’t undergone the full IAOMT program, nor have they proven their skills with an oral exam or, most importantly, the HANDS ON SKILL test of how to actually perform safe amalgam removal with the utmost stringency and safety. This is the reason we believe the IAOMT Accreditation is the most important and necessary display of biological dentistry proficiency and knowledge in addition to the S.M.A.R.T. certification.
IAOMT-accredited and IABDM Certified holistic dentists like Dr. May are young enough to grasp information extremely quickly, have the rigor to be able to apply protocols in everyday practice, and are at treating patients daily. This creates what we would consider the “elites” of practicing dental professionals in the niche biological dentistry world of holistic dentists. These are holistic dentists who tend to be talented, studious, progressive, innovative, and most importantly, have incredible hand skills for dental procedures, whether is root canal extractions, zirconia dental implants, cavitation dental surgery, or safe amalgam removal.