Why Functional Medicine should be part of your Overall Healthcare

Royal Oak and Birmingham, MI

Functional medicine is a growing area of medical science today. If you are a proponent in functional medicine, which emphasizes the whole health of the patient rather than treatment of specific diseases or conditions, then receiving care from a professional and experienced dentist should be part of your overall healthcare plan.

What exactly is functional medicine? The website for the Institute for Functional Medicine defines the discipline as a system-oriented approach that engages both the patient and the medical practitioner in a therapeutic partnership. In essence, functional medicine seeks to minimize disease and the development of chronic conditions by emphasizing healthy lifestyles through good nutrition, exercise, proper sleep habits, stress management, and the elimination of negative habits such as smoking. By providing moral and emotional support, in addition to caring for the body, functional medicine attempts to lower the average cost of healthcare—which totals up to $3.2 trillion each year in the United States to care for all Americans.

When evaluating a patient, functional medicine places special emphasis on their past history, lifestyle, and physiology. One of the main goals of functional medicine is to prevent chronic diseases from developing in the first place, rather than manage their symptoms.

Dentistry is incorporated into the discipline of functional medicine as part of a comprehensive focus on the entire human body; specifically, functional medicine is applied through dentistry by looking at the connection of the mouth to overall health. Many dentists who subscribe to functional medicine maintain a metal-free practice—they do not use metal in any of their restorations, both out of consideration for any patients with a metal allergy and because of the presence of mercury in dental amalgam, and the risks of neurological and physiological damage associated with mercury exposure. 

Airway management is another example of the whole-body approach that can be put into place by a dentist as part of an overall program of functional medicine. A sleep apnea dentist in Royal Oak such as Hartrick Dentistry, for instance, has special training to diagnose and treat any airway problem that may be causing a sleep breathing disorder.

One of the most versatile treatment applications with regard to functional medicine is myofunctional therapy, which seeks to help patients achieve a harmonious state in their orofacial system. A course of myofunctional therapy consists of a series of simple exercises working the tongue as well as the muscles of the face and mouth.

The goals of myofunctional therapy include achieving the ideal oral resting posture, which can help alleviate airway issues that can cause a sleep breathing disorder, while also being used to treat issues such as mouth breathing, issues with the facial growth and development of children, or eliminating negative oral habits like thumb sucking and tongue thrust.

At Hartrick Dentistry, we believe that there is no “one size fits all” approach when it comes to dentistry. No two people are alike, and we treat each of our patients accordingly, taking all factors such as oral health history and lifestyle into consideration when determining which method of treatment is best. We also believe in the importance in involving the patient in each decision related to treatment.

Functional Medicine in Royal Oak

Ready to learn more about how good oral health can help improve your overall health? Call the Royal Oak office of Hartrick Dentistry today at (248) 549-0950 to schedule a consultation.

Hartrick Dentistry is proud to serve the oral health needs of patients in the areas of Royal Oak and Birmingham, Michigan.

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Dr. Nancy Hartrick, DDS
32609 Woodward Ave.
Royal Oak, MI 48073
Call: 248-549-0950
Fax: 248-549-1180