One reason people procrastinate when it comes to visiting the dentist is that they fear the discomfort they know comes from injections, drilling, and more. In our practice, we’ve taken big strides to incorporate alternative modalities of care that can reduce pain. These techniques are so effective, injections are a “last line of defense” in our office, and we don’t use injections as much as traditional dental practices do. Here are some of the alternative medicine modalities we use instead.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), disease, illness, and pain is seen as a blockage or imbalance of qi, or chi, the vital life force that flows through our bodies. Health is restored by unblocking those blockages or bringing chi back into balance. One way to do this is through acupressure, which involves pressure through massage on specific points of the body where qi is blocked. Acupressure is very effective and can be done by the patients themselves to relieve pain and increase relaxation.
Many issues of the jaw, head, and neck we see in our practice can be helped with chiropractic care. In fact, we’ve found chiropractic to be so effective that we have an in-office chiropractor. She performs adjustments which also helps ensure that our treatment doesn’t complicate a trapped or nonmoving maxilla or skull.
Our chiropractor (who is also a certified myofunctional therapist) also helps patients through myofunctional therapy, which teaches patients how to breathe properly, corrects tongue position, and strengthens the muscles of the face and mouth through a series of exercises.
Homeopathic nasal sprays
Xlear Nasal Spray is a drug-free, over-the-counter spray of saline, grapeseed extract, and xylitol. Many of our patients use it at bedtime to counter inflammation of the nasal passages in order to improve breathing at night and reduce snoring. True Functional Nasal Spray is another alternative.
Something as simple as a multivitamin can be effective at helping to manage and reduce pain. We also recommend that our patients take supplemental magnesium, or increase their intake through food sources (found in foods like lentils, avocados, and almonds), as magnesium is essential to turn off the pain impulse at the nerve junction. This is especially important in patients with chronic pain, as they typically have depleted magnesium levels.
Electro Therapeutic Point Stimulation (ETPS)
ETPS is another way to help blocked qi flow again, without the use of acupuncture needles or acupressure massage. It involves using a small electrical current on certain points of the body, called acupuncture distant points, to help the face and jaw.
Pain relief that doesn’t cause pain
The irony is that injections of local anesthetics and numbing agents that relieve pain are very painful in and of themselves! We’ve found that by using one or more of the alternative modalities listed above, our patients have a more pleasant, less painful experience during dental treatment.