Patients and Neck Pain: How You Can Help

We have all experienced what might seem like a stiff neck because we slept the wrong way or whipped our head around too fast. Or, let’s face it, we might have even done one small movement that normally wouldn’t cause pain, but did—we’ve all been there. Either way, when your patients experience neck pain it can disrupt their daily activities while limiting movements. That neck pain or stiffness they are experiencing can be related to their oral health.

Understanding Neck Pain

When it comes to neck pain, it is important to help your patients find a treatment option. Neck pain can come from many different places, with the most common cause being simple overexertion or muscle strain. Regardless of the source of the neck pain, it is clear that treating it can often be a challenge—especially in cases of chronic discomfort.

Many treatments simply address neck pain without correcting the actual issue that is causing neck pain in the first place. Today, more and more people are beginning to discover the benefits of visiting their dentist about their neck pain. So, when a patient suffers from neck pain, you want to be able to provide them relief within your dental practice—it saves them another trip to the doctor!

The Connection

It is important to understand the underlying connection between neck pain and oral origins. Most people consider neck pain to be limited solely to physical stress. However, the mouth and jaw hold significant clues as to why your patients are experiencing neck pain—it is often linked to the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which is highly complex and has a wide range of motions.

The TMJ is responsible for coordinating every movement of the mouth, whether speaking or chewing. While it is responsible for an array of movements of the mouth, it can often be prone to improper function, which is TMD. This shifting can disturb the natural and correct pattern in which a patient’s teeth come together, which can cause inflammation of the surrounding tissues.

Due to this inflammation and pain, your patient might be experiencing neck pain. Through your knowledge of TMD and the problems that are associated with the TMJ, you can help your patients find relief from their neck pain. To learn more about TMD, neck pain, and craniofacial pain, I encourage you to attend an upcoming seminar or lecture series—it can make all the difference in helping you diagnose and treat your patients’ pain.

Upcoming Lectures to Get You Ready for Fall

It’s that time again! While your children might be getting ready to go back to school, don’t you think it is time for you to think about continuing your education, too? I think so! As your children get ready for school, make sure you take a look at some of our upcoming lectures for the rest of the year. Here are the lectures from September through the end of the year because you won’t want to miss out!

Pinpoint the Pain

Our Pinpoint the Pain lecture series takes place September 25-26, 2015 and is located in Jupiter, Florida. This two-day seminar gives dentists the opportunity to understand the neuroanatomical relationship within the cranio-cervical area that can complicate the diagnosis of a simple toothache or other orofacial related pain. Pain referral patterns can render misdiagnosis, which can potentially lead to unnecessary or ineffective treatment. In this lecture series, we will discuss pain and how to pinpoint pain.

Advanced Dental Sleep Medicine

In this two-day lecture series in Jupiter, Florida we will take a look at Advanced Dental Sleep Medicine. October 9-10, 2015, join us in this two-day lecture series on the next step in implementing dental sleep medicine. It empowers dentists and their teams to overcome clinical and administrative obstacles to incorporate sleep apnea into their practice.

Other Lectures

In addition to these lectures, check out some more upcoming lectures throughout the year:

October 23-24, 2015

Topic: Sleep Medicine for the Sleep Dentist  & Hygienist’s Role in dental Sleep Medicine

Location: Atlantic City, NJ

November 11-14, 2015

Topic: Sleep Medicine and Dentistry Mini-Residency Class 3

Location: San Diego, CA

December 4-5, 2015

Topic: A Multidisciplinary Pain, TMD and Sleep Symposium 

Location: Atlanta, GA

December 14-15, 2015

Topic: A day in the life: Run your practice like the experts

Location: Atlanta, GA

Explore each of the upcoming lectures to choose which ones would be best for you and your office! I look forward to potentially meeting you and helping you with your journey to improve services offered in your practice!

Dr. Patel is Now Serving on the American Academy of Craniofacial Pain Board

As an experienced craniofacial pain and dental sleep medicine professional, Dr. Mayoor Patel is proud to announce that he has been voted back into serving on the board for the American Academy of Craniofacial Pain by current members. With this recent vote onto the board of the AACP, Dr. Patel will serve for at least another two years.

The American Academy of Craniofacial Pain was created in 1985 by a group of founders who desired to promote clinical skills as well as education in the craniofacial pain field. It is the largest association of dentists and others with an interest in temporomandibular joint disorders, craniofacial pain, and dental sleep medicine.

By being voted back onto the board for the American Academy of Craniofacial Pain, Dr. Patel looks forward to continuing to work with other members in educating the craniofacial pain community, while also continuing to expand on his experience and knowledge. This helps the community to not only properly treat patients, but to also help other dental practices in their craniofacial pain journey.

In addition to serving on the board, Dr. Patel also serves on the AACP website and publication committee, as well as the ethic committee. By participating independently on these committees, Dr. Patel works to further improve the American Academy of Craniofacial Pain’s awareness and reach with dentists and their communities.

Dr. Mayoor Patel is on the Examination Chair for the American Board of Craniofacial Pain and American Board of Craniofacial Dental Sleep Medicine. He sits on both of these boards, as well as the local Georgia Association of Sleep Professional Boards, which helps him to continue to help other dentists in his community and surrounding areas.

For more information on the American Academy of Craniofacial Pain (AACP) please visit https://www.aacfp.org. As a member of the board of the American Academy of Craniofacial Pain, Dr. Patel looks forward to working with his colleagues while also helping the craniofacial pain community.

Simple Tips to Help Your Patients Cope with Their Sleep Apnea Diagnosis

As dentists, hygienists, front office staff, or any other position within the dental office, it is important to be there for our patients. And, after getting diagnosed with sleep apnea, our patients might be confused or concerned, while not quite knowing how to handle that news just yet.

To a patient, suffering from sleep apnea is like someone is robbing them of rest and destroying their health. Everyone needs sleep in order to stay healthy and happy. Luckily, there are effective treatment options for sleep apnea along with helpful tips you can provide your patients to help make their path to recovery an easier one. Let’s take a look:

Proper Position of the Mouth

Once a diagnosis has been made, this is where your office comes in. One option for sleep apnea treatment is oral appliance therapy. By creating a custom oral appliance, you can help keep your patient’s jaw in a proper position. While they might not work for everyone, they do work for many people who find them to be easy to use and successful in treating their sleep apnea—it helps to keep the air passageways wide open and clear by stabilizing the throat and holding it in the proper position.

Remember to Eat Well

Another tip is to eat well. Remind your patients that eating well and maintaining a proper weight can significantly help control their sleep apnea. As you might know, one of the main factors contributing to sleep apnea is being overweight, which is caused by poor eating habits. It has been proven that poor nutrition and diets can contribute to the severity of sleep apnea. So, get your patients to change their eating patterns for improved results!

Sleep on Their Side

Tell your patients to try to sleep on their side. Many people that are afflicted with sleep apnea rest on their backs. By sleeping on their back, it can cause constriction of the throat muscles. Side-sleeping can improve a person’s breathing because it helps to open the airways rather than allowing your tongue to fall to the back of your through like when sleeping on their back. And, if it might be difficult for your patients to sleep on their sides, tell them to try placing a tennis ball in their back pocket or propping pillows around themselves to prevent moving to their back.

It is important to help your patients understand their diagnosis—it may not always be so easy to understand. By giving them some simple tips, you can be helping them receive improved rest relief from their sleep apnea symptoms.

For more information on sleep apnea and tips you can provide your patients, please contact my office or attend one of our lectures. The more you understand sleep apnea, the better you can treat your patients!