Functional Dentistry

Functional Dentistry, calabasas CA

Dr. Baker at Calabasas Dental Spa explains What is Holistic and Functional Dentistry. Do you know What it is Functional Medicine? The difference between Western medicine and Functional medicine is obvious. Functional medicine is a type of medicine that involves going beyond the symptoms and finding the root of the problem. So, instead of simply prescribing medication to lower a patient’s elevated blood pressure, a functional medicine doctor will provide nutrition advice, ask about the patient’s sleep patterns and stress levels, or even advise on meditation and exercise.

In the same way, in Holistic dentistry, a dentist doesn’t just treat tooth decay, bad breath, or gum disease. It looks at the person as a whole, He knows that these symptoms signal underlying problems and looks to address those first. Functional dentistry aims to look beyond the mouth: How does the patient eat? Drink? Sleep? Etc. and treats the whole person. In fact, they are pretty much the same: The Functional Dentist has a Holistic approach to Dentistry.

This approach is entirely different from traditional dentistry, which focuses on brushing, flossing, and visiting a dentist twice per year for cleanings. All these things are essential but the real key to a healthy mouth is more about what we put in our body, our DIET. What we put in our bodies ultimately influences our overall health and the health of the mouth.

Like conventional dentists, those practicing functional dentistry use X-rays and dental exams to diagnose problems. The differences in the two disciplines are most evident in the treatment process, as functional dentists examine their patients' eating and lifestyle habits to uncover the root cause of any issues (and to determine the best solution).

Common questions a functional dentist may ask include:

- Do you use mouthwash?

- Do you breathe more through your mouth or nose?

- How much sleep do you get?

- How much of your diet comprises sugar, carbs, and highly acidic foods?

These questions may seem unrelated to cavities or gum recession. Still, the truth is that they provide invaluable information about the state of a patient’s oral microbiome and the mouth's dryness and pH level. These factors directly impact the risk of tooth decay, gingivitis, and other concerns. For example, if you use mouthwash, it can destroy beneficial bacteria and create an imbalanced microbiome. A functional dentist will not only use a patient’s responses to questions like these to provide treatment. However, he will also educate the patient on adjusting and preventing these issues from recurring. The focus is on PREVENTION, one of the primary differentiators between functional dentistry and conventional dentistry, focusing only on the SYMPTOMS.

Conventional Dentistry vs Functional Dentistry

The apparent difference is that conventional dentistry focuses on diagnosing and treating a patient’s symptoms at the time of the visit = REACTIVE and functional dentistry is PROACTIVE. Like many other functional dentists, I believe that simply filling a cavity, making sure a patient is out of pain, and then sending him on his way until his next cleaning isn’t enough. Conventional dentistry also fails to properly EDUCATE patients on the most critical aspects of maintaining good oral and dental health independently. For example, it’s not enough to tell people they should brush their teeth if you’re not telling them how to brush. Knowing when to brush and which products are best is important. Let’s look at how conventional dentistry differs from functional dentistry regarding a few common dental issues.


Conventional dentists blame tooth decay on poor hygiene or a lack of brushing and flossing. Brushing and flossing are only small parts of the equation when it comes to demineralization and the formation of dental caries. Dentists practicing functional dentistry know that eating the right foods is the best way to prevent cavities and even heal some that already exist.


Conventional dentistry considers that metal fillings are safe, and they recommend them as an option. It is shocking how many dentists have turned a blind eye to the dangers of metal-filling materials. Amalgam fillings contain mercury, which is a toxin. Additionally, some alloys contain nickel, which can cause inflammation of the gums. As a functional dentist, I only provide composite or porcelain fillings. These materials are the most biocompatible dental materials to date. We also provide a Biological Compatibility test for patients with more delicate immune systems to determine which safe materials are the most compatible with their bodies.


The conventional dentist recommends mouthwashes to “Kill the bad germs in your mouth”!

It is the most disturbing fact that a dentist or a medical professional will recommend harsh chemicals

that will destroy ALL GERMS, even THE GOOD ONES, and destroy the physiological balance of the

mouth. This biome is so important for our oral health. Even the all-natural products recommended by a conventional dentist, antibacterial products, like essential oils, will destroy that balance. Your mouth requires a balance of good bacteria to fight bad breath, cavity formation, and oral disease.

Practices like thorough brushing (with a natural toothpaste or even none at all!), coconut oil pulling, tongue scraping, flossing, and simply eating a more Paleo-like diet can all support a healthy bacterial balance within the mouth, and this is what a functional dentist will recommend. There are many other differences, but the essential part to remember is that Functional dentistry is an approach to oral and dental health that aims to solve problems at their root rather than treat symptoms as they arise.

Functional Dentistry FAQ

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What types of treatments are offered in functional dentistry?