Acupressure in dentistry

Acupressure (acupuncture + pressure) is an alternative medicine technique derived from acupuncture. Here, physical pressure is applied to acupuncture points by the elbow, hand, or with various devices. There are thousands of acupressure points on the body. Many of the problems encountered in Tijuana dental clinics can be curbed using these pressure techniques very easily and it is not an invasive process like acupuncture. According to Naik et al., acupressure can be used to manage a wide range of disorders in dentistry. It may provide new hope for patients having disorders that cannot be managed with usual treatment modalities.

Some of the conditions for which acupuncture can be used effectively include the followings:

  • Dental anxiety and gag reflex
  • Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain or TMD
  • Dental pain
  • TMJ clicking and locking
  • Chronic muscle pain or spasm
  • Atypical facial pain
  • Headache (migraine, tension headache)
  • Xerostomia (dry mouth)
  • Nerve pain (neuralgia, especially trigeminal neuralgia, nerve injury)
  • Paresthesia or anesthesia of the oral and paraoral structures.

There is a complicated network of nerve fibers in the dental pulp within the tooth and the periodontium surrounding it, and pain is triggered quickly when stimuli activate these nerve endings. Managing dental pain includes identifying and eliminating the etiological factors (such as caries, gingivitis, and periodontitis), followed by prescribing or administering analgesic medication, if required. The role of acupressure in dental pain may not involve eradicating the cause of the pain, but rather serving as an adjunct in achieving pain relief. The National Institutes of Health Concord Statement on Acupuncture and Acupressure of November of 1998 states that promising results have been shown for postoperative dental pain.