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Natural Awakenings Westchester / Putnam / Dutchess New York

The Role of Holistic Dentistry in Whole-Body Health

Jan 31, 2024 09:31AM ● By Erin Lehn

Dr. David Lerner

Dr. David Lerner, founder of The Center for Holistic Dentistry, in Yorktown Heights, New York, often recounts the story of his journey to becoming a holistic dentist. “I was sort of predisposed to pursue this path by trying to figure out my own health problems. It really started when I was a kid, going to the dentist,” he shares. “Every time I went, I had cavities, so I ended up with a mouthful of mercury fillings.”

As a pre-teen, he lost a tooth in an accident. Soon after, he had braces. However, while the orthodontist made his teeth look straight, his jaw was crooked, and he suffered with headaches, which he later learned led to a variety of problems—including head and neck aches. After graduating from dental school, Lerner began receiving TMJ treatments which provided immense relief. Thus began his journey toward understanding the mouth-body connection.

Shortly after attending dental school, Lerner needed to dig his car out of the snow after a big snowstorm. He didn’t have a snow shovel, so he used the only item he could find to scoop snow—a frying pan. That day of shoveling resulted in severe back strain which caused him to embark on an adventurous healing journey. “It took about a year to find the right doctor,” he says. “By the time I found him, I was in pain from head to toe. From the start, this doctor (of chiropractic) was giving me relief. He used methods that addressed my whole body. He was really my first exposure to a whole-body approach in health care.”

This experience not only led Lerner to pursue a degree in holistic dentistry where he studied the importance of the mouth-body connection, but also on a quest to connect with, and get treated by, a variety of holistic medical practitioners that all helped him pave the path toward a healthier version of himself. “As I continued my studies, I became inspired to write a book because I started to see for myself how so many of my health problems had a dental connection,” says Lerner, the author of The Dental Connection: The Role of Holistic Dentistry in the Integrative Healing Paradigm.

Lerner used his thirst for knowledge and his own healing journey as a navigation system to help others find their path toward ideal health. He and his team at The Center for Holistic Dentistry have been serving the community since 1978. “We practice a whole-body approach to health care, treating the mouth with the whole body in mind. Our patients appreciate our integrative and holistic approach, and they really value what we offer,” shares Office Manager Donielle Criscuolo. “Most of them come from Putnam and Westchester counties, but we have many patients from all over the globe.”

Criscuolo says that those seeking a more holistic approach to dentistry will find a home at the practice. Most of the staff has worked there for more than a decade, and Criscuolo attests that they’ve created a family-like culture that values open communication, safety and care. “We make extra special efforts to foster deep connections with our patients,” she says. “We take our time with appointments, ensuring that each patient feels comfortable and cared for and that they understand their treatment options. We adhere to high care standards and treat them the way we would want to be treated.”

According to Criscuolo, patients love Lerner’s chairside manners. “He has great presence and really listens to them. The patients can tell that they are being cared for in the utmost manner. They truly feel seen and heard,” she says, adding that they are also a very community-centric practice that enjoys focusing on education and outreach, in addition to networking with other practitioners.

Lerner’s office sees patients for a variety of issues, ranging from basic dental cleanings to root canal alternatives, mercury-free fillings, sleep apnea, restorative and cosmetic surgery, crowns, implants, extractions, TMJ and structural issues. Other services also include dental acupuncture, Craniosacral Therapy and Applied Kinesiology. “We also place a strong emphasis on a healthy oral microbiome and offer saliva testing to see whether our patients would benefit from herbal supplements and/or dietary changes,” says Criscuolo, who affirms that the team values helping their patients achieve glowing health. “We love nothing more than seeing the aha moments in our patients once they start seeing their overall health improve.” 

Location: 2649 Strang Blvd., Ste. 201, in Yorktown Heights. For more information or to make an appointment, call 914-245-4041 or visit

Erin Lehn is a frequent contributor to Natural Awakenings.