Keeping your teeth young
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Keeping your teeth young

As we get older suddenly we realised many things we didn't appreciate about being young - being fit, having smooth skin and having all your own teeth. As our loose teeth (and bridges) struggle to deal with chewier food we start eating bland mush and, there is no easy way to say this, OLD PEOPLE FOOD. I'm determined not to let that happen to me and I'm doing everything I can to keep my own teeth as long as possible, and when that's not possible to get the best possible teeth replacement. If you are like me and want to keep on eating whatever you want, I think you'll like my site. It's all about dental health and teeth replacement & maintenance.

Keeping your teeth young

How Fibromyalgia Sufferers Can Reduce The Discomfort Of A Dental Visit

Mabel Hicks

Fibromyalgia is not an easy condition to live with at the best of times, as any sufferer will tell you, and doctors have come up with various ways to reduce the pain and discomfort of living with this debilitating illness day to day. However, a trip to the dentist's chair is never a pleasant experience, even for people with perfect health -- combining the stresses of a dental procedure with the symptoms of fibromyalgia can quickly lead to an unbearable situation. 

It goes without saying that keeping up with your dental appointment is important to dental health. As such, if you or somebody close to you suffers from fibromyalgia, there are a number of ways you can work alongside your dentist to reduce the pain and discomfort of a dental visit as much as possible.

The chair

Dentist's chairs aren't exactly known for their luxurious comfort, and the chronic muscle and joint pain caused by fibromyalgia can make sitting in the dentist's chair for any extended period of time a painful endeavour. This kind of chronic pain isn't just uncomfortable, as the hormones your body produces in response to pain can drastically interfere with the normal function of analgesic and sedative medications. 

As such, fibromyalgia sufferers should consult with their dentist before an appointment on ways they can stay comfortable for longer in the big chair. This can be something as simple as wearing a blanket during the procedure to keep your muscles and joints warm and supple. If you use lumbar supports or massage pads at home, ask your dentist if you can use them in the chair (vibrating massage pads are discouraged for obvious reasons). If you are on pain relieving medication, keep taking it, but inform your dentist well in advance of what medications you are taking, and at what dosages.

Dealing with anxiety

The pain that fibromyalgia can cause during a dental procedure is not just physical -- many fibromyalgia sufferers naturally experience severe dental anxiety, knowing that they are about to go through a particularly unpleasant experience. This anxiety can be exacerbated by the cognitive dysfunction (often referred to as 'fibrofog') that fibromyalgia sufferers commonly experience, and you may find it extremely difficult to properly relax. Sedative medications can also have their effectiveness reduced by the body chemistry changes caused by severe anxiety.

Some sufferers prefer to deal with this dental anxiety in simple ways. Soothing music, the presence of a friend or loved one, or a low dose of anti-anxiety medication (with the approval of your dentist) can all help. However, some other sufferers prefer to leave nothing to chance and opt for full sedation. Unconscious sedation is naturally the most effective way to tackle dental anxiety and the problems it can cause, but if you choose this option, bear in mind that you may take some time to recover mentally and physically from the effects of the anaesthesia. You should also make sure that your dentist is fully qualified to administer general anaesthetic. If you suffer from skin sensitivity that makes needles excessively painful, ask about nitrous oxide sedation.

Troubles with TMJ

Temporomandibular joint dysfunction, commonly abbreviated to TMJ, refers to a range of poorly-understood illnesses that can cause severe pain and dysfunction of the mouth and jaw muscles. TMJ is closely associated with fibromyalgia, and people who suffer from both illnesses can often find it very difficult and painful to keep their mouth open for extended periods.

Many people who suffer from both fibromyalgia and TMJ opt for full sedation, but if you are unable or unwilling to take a general anaesthetic, you should inform your dentist of the problem before the procedure starts. For some less invasive procedures, it may be possible to take periodic breaks to reduce jaw pain, and clamps and braces can be inserted into your mouth to make keeping your mouth open easier and take the strain away from rapidly tiring muscles. If these do not work, your dentist may be able to administer intravenous nerve blocks directly into your jaw, to numb the pain until the procedure has been completed.

For more information about steps you can take to make a general dentistry appointment more comfortable, work closely with your dentist.