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Continuous pain/discomfort after dental surgery about 7/8 years ago

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
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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