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12 questions

Q:  I had 2 lower wisdom teeth, both having formed cysts, removed from my lower jaw in January. I'm still experiencing discomfort which is aggravated by talking. The maxillo facial surgeon has told me that  there is nothing wrong and that I must be patient.  Would acupuncure help?

 

A:

While a great deal of the early research into acupuncture was about pain reduction, as our factsheet shows please click here

 

 

 

 

 

 

a great many of the studies target specific pains. There are a number of studies of dental pain please click here

 

 

 

 

which are of sufficient standard for us to be able to advertise that acupuncture can assist dental pain, but the kind of pain from which you suffer is not one which has been specifically described in the studies, and we would be reluctant to say, under the general rubric of 'dental pain' that acupuncture would be of benefit.

 

 

 

It would certainly do no harm to visit a BAcC member local to you and seek their advice on whether they think they may be able to help you. However, another option you may want to consider is cranial osteopathy. One feature of wisdom tooth surgery is that the jaw is often extended very fully while considerable pressure is applied, and the tempero-mandibular joint (TMJ) can easily be slightly dislocated. This might well generate the symptom you describe, and while it is possible that an acupuncturist can provide some relief if there has been displacement of the TMJ the use of gentle manipulation to correct a misalignment may be a good alternative option.   

 

 

 

 

Q:  I had dental surgery about 7/8 years ago and it has left me with continuous pain/discomfort. I have various and extensive treatment ranging from root canal - physiotherapy - anti depressants (for transgeminal? neuralgia) and a host of other. I am now waiting to see yet another consultant but would like to investigate alternatives myself. I really feel that the problem is nerve damage as the original extraction was very lengthy and tricky but I am reluctant to try the drugs again as I have already tried this for over a year and the side effects were unpleasant.
Any guidance would be appreciated

 

A:  We're sorry to hear about your problem. Dental pain, because it is too 'close in' to shut off, can cause long-term distress and depression.
 
Oddly enough, in spite of the much more severe restrictions now in force about what advertisers and marketers can say, dental pain is one of the small number of conditions for which acupuncture is accepted as a viable and evidence-based treatment. Ironically the main providers of dental acupuncture, the British Dental Acupuncture Society, use it less for pain and anxiety than to control the gagging reflex, but there is no doubt that acupuncture can reduce pain after dental work.
 
However, while not diverting you from treatment, one situation which we find quite often is that aggressive and lengthy dental work, where the mouth is held open for a long time and considerable force is applied to extract or to work on teeth, can cause all sorts of problems in the tempero-mandibular joints, and our colleagues in the osteopathy profession, especially those who practise cranial osteopathy, tell us that this is a condition which they deal with regularly. The joint is not a very fixed one, as you know from being able to move the jaw very freely, and it is easy for it to become dislocated. This can then put pressure on the trigeminal nerve and create extremely severe pain which is sometimes 'remedied' by further dental work which proves ineffective.
 
Even one of our great detractors concedes that acupuncture may have a role to play in sorting out the structural malfunctions associated with TMJ problems
 
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10190797
 
and we would certainly be happy to recommend that you seek treatment with one of our members. However, in the view of this 'expert' if you were to present at my clinic I would almost certainly refer you to an osteopath in the first instance to ensure that I did not take half a dozen sessions to effect a change he might make in one. It would not be unusual to get a reciprocal referral after a session or two to encourage the musculature local to the problem to maintain the proper position to which the joint had reverted.
 
We would advise you to contact one of our members to discuss your problem with them. If they felt that there was a case for referral on they would know who locally to you would be best suited to your needs.   
 
 
 

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