Acupuncture supports healing in many health conditions, but it’s especially effective for easing pain, including headaches, musculoskeletal pain, and dental pain. Here’s how it works and what you can expect during acupuncture treatment.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the World Health Organization (WHO) both recommend acupuncture for dental pain. In fact, the NIH recognized acupuncture’s role in easing dental pain more than two decades ago.
Since then, acupuncture has continued to prove its ability to ease pain, and the treatment has gone mainstream. Some health professionals even recommend acupressure — a technique using pressure instead of needles — to temporarily ease a toothache while waiting to see your dentist.
As acupuncture specialists, our team at Docere Integrated Medicine has years of experience helping patients get relief from dental pain. We encourage you to reach out for help when your pain is in the early stages rather than waiting until it escalates and becomes unbearable.
Let’s talk about the basics about acupuncture, how it stops dental pain, and what to expect during your treatment.
Dental pain relieved by acupuncture
Acupuncture tackles nearly all types of dental pain. The treatment eases pain caused by a toothache, gum disease, and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. You can also use acupuncture to get relief from the pain you experience after dental surgery.
Beyond helping with your pain, acupuncture may also improve your experience in the dental office. Acupuncture can help you get through dental procedures by reducing anxiety and controlling the gag reflex.
However, we have an important word of caution. While acupuncture eases pain, it can’t treat the cause of your dental pain.
Acupuncture can’t eliminate the decay of a cavity or repair a cracked or abscessed tooth. We can help with your pain, but you’ll need to schedule a dental appointment to take care of the underlying problem and get long-lasting relief.
How acupuncture eases dental pain
You may be surprised to learn that acupuncture relieves dental pain through multiple pathways.
Traditional Chinese medicine defines energy pathways (meridians) in your body. When your natural energy (qi) is vital and free-flowing, these pathways support natural healing and promote optimal health.
If a health problem develops, we insert acupuncture needles into carefully chosen acupoints. Acupoints are specific areas along the meridians associated with the body area causing your pain. The needles restore the flow of energy, which in turn improves your pain and your overall well-being.
But acupuncture does more than influence your body’s energy system.
The hair-thin acupuncture needles directly stimulate your nervous system. Acupuncture stimulates nerves that alter pain signals and trigger the release of natural pain killers (endorphins) and neurotransmitters involved in easing pain.
Acupuncture also activates the release of anti-inflammatory substances and boosts blood flow, which further enhances healing and reduces inflammation.
What to expect during acupuncture for dental pain
We start by reviewing your medical history and assessing your symptoms. We need to learn about the type and location of your dental pain so we can choose the appropriate acupoints.
After we develop a plan, you relax on the comfortable treatment table while we insert the acupuncture needles. The placement of the needles varies for each person because the best acupoints depend on your unique dental pain.
In addition to various acupoints in areas you might expect like your face and jaw, we may also insert needles in other areas connected with dental pain, such as your ear or hand.
The needles typically stay in place for up to 20 minutes. During that time we may send mild electrical stimulation through the needle or use other techniques to enhance your results.
To learn more about acupuncture for dental pain, call Docere Integrated Medicine or use online booking today.