See dentist and get acupuncture, have you expected that?

Acupuncture for Orofacial Pain
Orofacial pain, also known as facial pain, refers to a discomfort experienced in the front part of the head, including the oral cavity. It is a common issue seen in primary care settings. A study conducted in British primary care involving 2,504 adult patients found that nearly a quarter of them reported orofacial pain. The most frequent cause of orofacial pain is dental problems, such as tooth decay, periodontal diseases, musculoskeletal disorders, and neuropathological conditions. Patients with orofacial pain often experience elevated anxiety levels, and there is a correlation between anxiety and the intensity of the pain. Managing orofacial pain can be challenging, and it typically involves the use of medications and complementary therapies.

Acupuncture has been recognized by dentists as an effective method for relieving orofacial pain. The UCLA School of Dentistry offers a unique program based on evidence and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) theory to train dentists in acupuncture and its integration with Western allopathic medicine. This program equips participants with the knowledge to diagnose and understand the pathophysiology of acute and chronic oral pain conditions from an integrative East-West perspective. Additionally, graduates of the program learn basic acupuncture techniques that can be safely administered to patients.

In a study involving 557 patients with orofacial pain, different treatment approaches were evaluated. The most common form of therapy was the use of a Michigan stabilization splint, which was employed in 38.9% of patients with disc displacement of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and combined with physiotherapy in 18.7% of cases. For TMJ osteoarthritis, the splint was used in 28.4% of patients and combined with physiotherapy in 26.4% of cases. The predominant treatment for trigeminal neuralgia was the administration of anticonvulsant drugs in 54.3% of patients, often in combination with acupuncture (25.7%) or as acupuncture alone (17.1%).

Acupuncture for Dental Pain Relief

Acute dental pain is the primary reason people seek dental services. If you have experienced dental pain, have you considered trying acupuncture to alleviate it? A study conducted at the After-Hours Emergency Dental Clinic of Piracicaba Dental School and the Emergency Center Dental Specialties I in Piracicaba, São Paulo, Brazil aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of acupuncture in reducing the intensity of acute dental pain in patients awaiting emergency dental care. The study included 120 patients who underwent one session of acupuncture, and pain intensity was measured using the Visual Analog Scale (VAS). The results showed a reduction in pain intensity in all 120 patients. This study suggests that acupuncture can be a valuable adjunctive technique for pain control in patients with acute dental pain, contributing to their overall health improvement and well-being. Therefore, considering acupuncture for your dental pain may be worth a try.

Acupuncture for Recovery from Dental Surgery

The surgical removal of impacted or semi-impacted third molars (wisdom teeth) is a common procedure performed by oral and maxillofacial surgeons. The inflammatory process triggered by surgical trauma can lead to edema (swelling) and limited mouth opening. This, in turn, increases pain due to heightened tissue tension. Acupuncture therapy is known to help maintain immune function, restore homeostasis, and promote muscle relaxation. Consequently, it has been studied as an adjunctive treatment for this type of surgery. The goal is to minimize the symptoms associated with postoperative edema and bleeding. The research has shown that acupuncture is effective in reducing residual edema and intraoperative bleeding following dental surgery. Therefore, acupuncture can be beneficial in aiding recovery from dental surgical procedures.

Badel T et al Acta Clin Croat. 2019 Jun;58(Suppl 1):82-89. doi: 10.20471/acc.2019.58.s1.12.
Grillo CM J Acupunct Meridian Stud. 2014 Apr;7(2):65-70. doi: 10.1016/j.jams.2013.03.005. Epub 2013 Apr 11.
Gil MLB et al J Acupunct Meridian Stud. 2020 Mar 20. pii: S2005-2901(20)30078-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jams.2020.03.063. [Epub ahead of print]

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