The mechanisms of craniofacial pain

A recent journal looked at the mechanisms of craniofacial pain. The researchers worked to highlight peripheral and central adaptations that might promote chronification of pain in craniofacial pain states, including migraines and temporomandibular disorders (TMD). Pain is a common symptom that is associated with disorders of the craniofacial tissues, such as the teeth and their supporting structure, the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and the muscles of the head.

Most acute craniofacial pain conditions are easily recognized and well managed. However, others, especially those that are chronic such as migraines and TMD, present clinical challenges for dentists and physicians. While the mechanisms of chronic craniofacial pain in patients remains limited, both clinical and preclinical investigations suggest changes in afferent inputs to the brain occur in chronic pain. This results in amplification of nociception, which promotes and sustains chronic craniofacial pain states.

Through an increased understanding of the physiological and pathological processing of nociception in the trigeminal system, we can learn about new perspectives for the mechanistic understanding of acute craniofacial pain conditions. This also helps with the peripheral and central adaptations that are related to chronic pain. We can offer improvements in treatment for chronic and acute craniofacial pain conditions.

What are your thoughts on this? Does this information help improve treatment options for your patients?

Chronic Pain and Addiction: What are Your Thoughts?

A Huffington Post article discusses the opioid epidemic in the United States. This epidemic continues to increase dramatically with over 2 million Americans struggling with abuse of an opioid pain reliever. This Huffington Post article discusses the effects of chronic pain and how addiction can grow from this. Let’s take a closer look:

The Article

An estimated 100 million Americans experience chronic pain. This chronic pain can be caused by an injury, with the most common complaints of headaches, neck pain, facial pain, lower back pain, and others. Unfortunately, though, many times the pain can be enigmatic and complex or difficult to diagnose. When this happens, treatment might seem too out of reach for many patients, who then result to pain medications, such as opioids, to cope.

Women and Pain

Women are more likely to suffer from chronic pain and TMD than men. Temporomandibular joint disorders can have a wide effect on the jaw, head, and neck, and can be attributed to headaches. TMD can also be linked to pain in the ears and can be caused by:

  • Bruxism
  • Poor Body Structure
  • Growth abnormalities
  • Trauma
  • Hormones
  • Stress
  • Problems in the brain and nervous system

This pain can also lead to further complications, such as sleep disturbances. With 42 million people reporting pain or physical discomfort disrupting their sleep throughout the week, it is important to provide our patients with proper treatment. Through proper treatment we can hope that we can eliminate or decrease opioid use and addiction among women.

Let’s keep an eye on this topic and see what more we can do as dentists and craniofacial pain specialists. But before I end, I want to know what your thoughts are on this topic? Should we be doing something more?

Revisit These 3 Marketing Strategies in 2017

We are already three months into 2017, so where is your marketing plan? Have you begun planning, or is it just sitting by the wayside? When creating your marketing plan for the rest of the year, it is important to focus on making sure your products and services meet your patients and their needs–a proper marketing plan will develop long-term and profitable relationships with those patients. Follow this list of 4 dental office-marketing ideas to consider this year:

1. A Monthly Newsletter

As a practice that is establishing their role in dental sleep medicine and craniofacial pain, you might benefit by sending out monthly emails to your patients that targets the importance of getting treated. Some information might include:

  • What is sleep apnea?
  • What is Craniofacial Pain?
  • What is TMD?
  • What are the symptoms?
  • What treatment options are available?
  • How can my dentist help me?

The questions and tips that you can include in these newsletters are limitless. And, if you’re stuck on what to write, just listen to your patients and their needs! Through email marketing you can further reach your patients because majority of patients check their emails multiple times a day.

2.Get Social

I’ve mentioned it before, and I’ll say it again. Social media is an essential part to every marketing plan.  Utilize Facebook or Twitter to post fun facts to patients or updates on your practice. When patients see these “fun facts” they will be more prone to share with their friends. Without engagement, your patients will simply browse over the information without really paying attention.

3. Content Creation Through Blogging

Blog posts are an extension of your website and another way to get content out there that is searchable through Google. While writing your blog posts, be sure to include keywords so that your blog post comes up when a patient is looking for specific information. You can utilize your blog to share educational or office information—the choice is yours.

Contact Dr. Mayoor Patel for more information on how you can successfully market your dental office this year.

The Painful Truth About TMD and How to Help

As you already know, temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD) refer to a cluster of conditions that are often characterized by pain in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) or its surrounding tissues. The surrounding tissues might include the neck, head and even shoulders. Conditions involving the TMJ are so common among the adult population that up to 75 percent show at least one sign of TMD upon examination. Let’s take a look at some of the instances in which TMD can cause further complications and how to educate your patients.

Further Complications

Evidence continues to be available about TMD and how it can be worsened by other conditions. Today, it has been shown that anxiety, stress, and other emotional disturbances may worsen TMD. Some of the common signs of TMD include:

  • Jaw pain
  • Limited or painful jaw movements
  • Headaches
  • Neck pain or stiffness
  • Clicking or grating within the joint
  • Inability to open mouth without pain

It has been shown that about 55 percent of patients with chronic headaches who were referred to a neurologist actually have signs of TMD. Without the education on TMD, signs and symptoms often go overlooked and no treatment can be found.

As a dentist, you can put an end to the misdiagnosis of TMD by completing further education. You can also educate your patients on self-care techniques and referral for non-invasive treatment should be considered [1].

Improvement with Treatment

Signs and symptoms of TMD improve over time with at-home care, and with oral appliance therapy from the dental office. Previous studies have even show that as many as 50% of patients improve in one year and 85% improve completely in three years. Encourage conservative treatment before any invasive options are considered. It is important to treat your patients properly without causing further complications.

Contact my office to learn more about TMD and available treatment options, as well as upcoming lectures for continuing your education.

 

 

 

 

1. Lindsay, J. (2016). TMJ Disorder-The Painful (but Helpful) Truth. Pain.