Functional dentists investigate chronic (ongoing) pain by checking their patients’ teeth, nerves, muscles, jaws, airway, breathing, sleeping habits and more.
A good example of chronic pain is excessive teeth grinding or jaw clenching. A conventional dentist might give a patient a night guard to wear while sleeping. However, if the patient has sleep apnea (not getting enough oxygen while sleeping), a night guard could partially block the patient’s airway and actually make a bad situation worse.
If left untreated, excessive teeth grinding or jaw clenching can lead to painful TMJ (temporo-mandibular joint). This searing pain happens where the jaw meets the skull. Studies have found that different types of nerve problems have been linked to TMJ.
A functional dentist will search for the causes of the teeth grinding and jaw clenching by going the extra mile and checking the patient’s medical history, present medical condition, current medications, X-Rays, and blood tests. Once the cause is discovered, the problem can be correctly treated and prevented from happening again.
Functional dentistry may use alternative forms of treatment such as Botox injections for TMJ pain and myofunctional therapy message (facial exercises to correct tongue posture and swallowing). Functional dentistry also focuses on the prevention of mouth diseases with dietary recommendations such as proteins, vitamin K2 foods, leafy greens and healthy fats.
A functional dentist may ask a patient what types of food he or she eats because sugar, carbs, and highly acidic foods can create plaque, contribute to bacteria growth, lead to tooth decay, and cause gum disease.
Functional dentistry also looks beyond diet. Gum disease can be worsened by an autoimmune disease, high blood sugar (type 2 diabetes) and high levels of inflammation. A functional dentist may refer a patient to a doctor for some underlying medical issues.
Functional dentistry tries to avoid using toxic materials such as mercury or nickel in tooth fillings, which can cause gum inflammation. Functional dentists often use non-toxic materials such as composite or gold for fillings.
Functional dentistry also educates patients on correct brushing and flossing techniques. By using education, functional dentists can teach patients how to care for their dental health on their own. This means less procedures in the dental office. It is always in the best interest of the patient to keep his, or her, teeth and gums healthy.
Functional dentistry is not a momentary fad. It is a pro-active holistic approach (total body health) based on evidence-based medicine. By finding out the main cause of dental problems, functional dentistry saves patients time and money that otherwise would be spent on treating symptoms only.
Functional dentistry focuses on the root causes of dental problems and creates an individualized care plan for each person. Each patient is unique because each dental condition is unique.
If you have a dental problem that won’t go away, or any other concerns, please call us at (424) 382-0290. We practice an all-body approach to dental health. We will work with you to help you achieve better health.
Focusing His Time And Energy In Providing Life-Changing Dentistry To His Patients
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