Everyone needs to get their teeth examined and cleaned on a regular basis, but it's not always so easy if you suffer from a disease or disability. If you have arthritis in the jaw or neck, and it hurts to have your mouth open for extended periods of time, it doesn't mean that you can skip your visit to the dentist. There are ways that the dentist can potentially help to ease your discomfort. Here are three things to consider before your next appointment.
Taking over the counter pain relievers may be helpful if you consume them before your appointment. Pain medicine like ibuprofen helps to reduce inflammation and swelling, which may help to reduce the risk of pain in the affected joint(s).
Keep in mind that you should ask your dentist before taking anything the day of your appointment. If your dentist wants to use their own pain relieving medication, you may need to skip this step.
For many people, the pain of holding the jaw open is actually due to the muscle exertion and strain on the joint while physically opening your own mouth. If something else does it for you, it often doesn't hurt because there's no internal pulling or stretching of the joint from your tensed muscles.
In this case, your dentist may be able to help you out with a bite block. Bite blocks are small blocks of foam that are slid between teeth to help make it easier for dentists to perform dental procedures far back in the mouth. While the block is between your teeth, you can fully rest the muscles of your jaw and neck without having to worry about whether or not your dentist or hygienist can clearly see what they're doing.
Finally, sedation dentistry is a potential solution for you, especially if your pain is paired with anxiety.
Sedation dentistry is designed to help you to feel comfortable and like you're on the verge of sleep without actually falling asleep. It's also often called twilight sleep for this reason. You'll remain conscious during the procedure, but the anesthetic can help you to feel at ease and will definitely reduce your pain.
Coping with pain when you're trying to take good care of your dental hygiene is tough. Don't take it all on alone. Ask your dentist for advice and treatment options to make your next visit a little easier for you.Share