Recently two of the Dental Solutions team attended a Foundation Course in Dental Acupuncture at Royal Preston Hospital. Both Lauren Westhead BDS BSc and Amy Norfolk BDS BSc completed the course to learn more about this alternative method and how it can be incorporated into a dental setting. Adding to their qualifications as Invisalign and Quick Straight Teeth providers it is something new that the two were keen to learn more about.
It was a comprehensive course that covered Western style acupuncture, but here we have gathered a few key insights from the day and how they could benefit our patients here at Dental Solutions.
Firstly, it is important to consider what acupuncture actually is outside of dentistry. A treatment which finds its origins in ancient Chinese medicine, it is a technique that has stood the test of time for both practitioners and patients alike. It involves inserting fine needles into certain sites across the body in order to achieve therapeutic or sometimes even preventative outcomes. As a technique, it is used widely across the UK in general NHS practices, pain clinics and even hospices.
Modern acupuncture works by stimulating sensory nerves that are under the skin and in the muscles of the body. This causes the body to produce natural, pain-relieving, endorphins that are credited as being responsible for the positive effects created by acupuncture.
Traditionally, acupuncture was based on the belief that an energy flowed through the body. This Qi (pronounced as “chee”) is believed to cause illness if it is unable to flow through the body properly, so the purpose of acupuncture is to restore the positive flow. Obviously, over time, modern medicine has taught us much more about why acupuncture works for the body; but, it is interesting to see how our ancestors interpreted the inner workings of the body and medicine!
One of the biggest draws for seeking acupuncture alongside dental treatment is the fact that, according to research which can be found here, it can help to reduce anxiety for those who fear the dentist or dental work. The study found that in a test pool of 20 people, 12 (60%) were found to respond positively to the acupuncture and dental treatment could take place. This is from a test pool where some patients had previously been unable to receive dental work at all.
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome is a pain in the jaw joint which can result in a number of medical issues. This and other jaw pains can prove difficult in a dental setting and so seeking a solution for patients is important. Acupuncture can be used to relieve pain for those who suffer from this and other jaw-related problems that affect dental treatment.
Acupuncture can also be helpful in cases where a dental patient struggles with an overactive gag reflex. For patients who cannot have any dental procedure performed due to a gag reflex, in particular, could find it beneficial on a trial basis. Though not effective in 100% of cases, according to various studies performed by the British Dental Acupuncture Society, it can have a positive effect on some patients.
Are you interested in what acupuncture could do for your dental experience? Then contact us using the online form at our Lymm office or call on 01925 756565.
If you would like Lauren or Amy to assess you for any other treatments – such as Invisalign or Quick Straight Teeth – then you can also book an appointment for an initial consultation.