A Dental Solution to Back and Neck Problems
"The pains stopped completely"
“While many people come to us with specific pains related to dental problems, we always question new patients very carefully about other aches or pains they may be experiencing but which they may not have attributed to a dental problem” comments James Green.
“These might include back, neck and shoulder pains or even migraines, because these are all problems that can be caused by bite related issues and can be treated through dentistry.”
“Many patients have simply learned to live with these aches and pains and they often go untreated, sometimes for years. In some instances, a patient may have undergone unnecessary treatments or been on long term painkillers that have helped alleviate the symptoms but have not cured the problem.”
“Bite related issues are caused by a variety of factors. One of the most common is often stress which leads to problems such as clenching or grinding (also known as bruxing). Both grinding and clenching occur most commonly at night and many patients find their symptoms are worse in the morning, because they have been clenching their jaw while asleep.”
“Patients are often unaware that they are clenching while asleep and even then, it might occur for only 10 to 20 minutes dispersed through the night. And while that doesn’t seem like a long time it means the jaw is doing two to three times as much work as it is supposed to. Additionally, for some patients the problems are periodic, something they experience for a few days, weeks or months then it goes away, only to return later.”
The bite system is effectively a network of muscles, bones, ligaments, teeth and the central nervous system which should all work together in harmony. But if one part of this complicated system fails to work properly, pain can be caused in a variety of ways and with different outcomes, ranging from tooth sensitivity to back ache.
Another factor which may upset the delicate balance of the bite is that of incorrectly shaped crowns, fractured or worn teeth, which may result in further breakage as undue pressure is placed on the remaining teeth.
“The jaw is the most complex joint in the body and when treating patients with any of these symptoms we look for the weakest link, which can be anything from broken teeth to shoulder pain. After a careful examination and a review of a patients’ history of pain, we decide on the appropriate treatment.”
James is one of the few dentists in Oxfordshire to use a complex digital bite analysis technique called a T-Scan which helps highlight exactly where the bite problems are, aiding him in his treatment recommendation, which may range from changing individual fillings to replacing crowns or embarking on more complex restorative programmes. Commonly, however, he recommends that a patient has a night guard to wear over their teeth while sleeping.
“Some more common night guards are quite big and can be uncomfortable to wear, so patients decide not to wear them, and in extreme cases, they might even make the situation worse. I usually use a very small device which is much more comfortable to wear and has a very high success rate. It is one of the simplest non-invasive forms of treatment, yet it can be one of the most effective ways in which to help relieve patients of their symptoms.
“Patients who have suffered for years often report that after wearing the guard for just a few weeks, there is a significant relief from pain or that it has simply gone. For some the result is even quicker, relieving them of pain that they have otherwise learned to live with. ”
Emma is just one of James’s patients to have benefitted from a night guard that he made for her.
“I used to get blinding flash head pains every day and sometimes they were so bad they made me feel ill. James told me that I was clenching at night and after two nights of wearing my night guard the pains stopped completely and they have never returned. I wouldn’t be without it.”
Related Articles: Improve Your Hearing with Aston Hearing