Acupuncture is a medical treatment developed in China thousands of years ago that has received a huge amount of interest in the last 20 years, and it is now becoming increasingly popular in the west, and may be used to treat a wide range of medical conditions. Amongst these are a number of problems that may be diagnosed and treated by your dentist. The British Dental Acupuncture Society believes that acupuncture has a very important role to play in dentistry today. As registered members of the BDAS we offer this alternative therapy for the relief of pain, including jaw and facial pain, and to help alleviate episodes of dental anxiety
Why should a dentist use acupuncture?
Dentists don't just fix a broken tooth or make a denture. Their professional training, and knowledge of their patients, places them in a unique position to diagnose and treat a number of conditions that occur in the head and neck, conditions which often produce symptoms felt in the mouth. Dentists may combine acupuncture with more "conventional" treatments to give you the best results, for example toothache might need a filling but acupuncture may help with any after pain. Your dentist will advise you if acupuncture is a suitable treatment for you, or not.
Conditions that we might treat with acupuncture:
- TMJ (jaw joint) pain
- TMJ clicking & locking
- Facial pain
- Muscle spasm
- Chronic stress headache
- dental anxiety
- Rhinititis & Sinusitis
- prominent retch reflex
- Trigeminal & other neuralgias
- Xerostomia (dry mouth problems)
- Altered sensation in the mouth
- post operative pain
Very fine needles are inserted through the skin and gently stimulated by hand. The treatment doesn’t generally take very long, often uses about half a dozen needles (this varies on the patient) and is not usually painful although there may be some discomfort. Your dentist may do some other dental treatment whilst the acupuncture works. Sometimes the position of the needles can seem strange, but there are specific patterns for treatments. Modern research has shown that acupuncture can work on most of the body’s systems. The needles stimulate the nervous system, to produce a number of effects, modifying the way pain signals are felt, and releasing natural painkillers Endorphin & Serotonin in the nervous system. But acupuncture does more than just control pain, it has a generally beneficial effect on health, and many patients feel better in general, and sleep better following a treatment. Treatments may begin with weekly sessions with further visits as prescribed by your dentist. About half a dozen treatments is a common prescription.
Will it work for me?
We can show by experiment that acupuncture works, and that the results are not due to the placebo effect. People will respond to acupuncture in their own way. Some patients notice an immediate improvement, some find that several treatments are needed before the full effect is felt. There are some that do not respond to this type of treatment. Generally 70% of patients show some benefits.
What happens after treatment?
Many patients feel a little tired after a treatment. Occasionally the acupuncture sites may feel slightly bruised for 24 hours or so. It is not uncommon for patients to notice other changes, for example their back pain improves, or other aches change and become more obvious as the major problem is treated and improves. Rhinititis & Sinusitis prominent retch refl ex Trigeminal & other neuralgias Xerostomia (dry mouth problems) Altered sensation in the mouth post operative pain