dental phobias

For those patients who are afraid of going to the dentist, there are alternatives that can provide enough relief from this condition to allow such patients to attend a dental surgery at least for routine treatment.

Homeopathic Aconite has been used to overcome fear for centuries and works well in the 30 C dose before dental treatment. Courses in hypnotherapy have been run for dentists for many years now. A more orthodox approach would use an intravenous derivative of a tranquiliser such as Valium. Local anaesthetic's are usually based on lidocaine (xylocaine), articaine or prilocaine. Lidocaine and articaine are usually given with adrenaline (epinephrine) as a vasoconstrictor (to slow the time the drug takes to disperse from the injection site), and prilocaine with octapressin, another vasoconstrictor. There are anaesthetic's that don't need a vasoconstrictor, and some may find these more tolerable. From a holistic viewpoint, all anaesthetic's are toxic and have the ability to produce a slight short-term effect on the dual membrane of the brain so the less used, the better. (Milne H, The Heart of Listening, California: North Atlantic Books, 1995).

Also, it is advisable for patients to take vitamin C and N-acetyl cysteine after any local anaesthesia. Patients undergoing surgery in hospital would find N-acetyl cysteine effective for removing the after effects of general anaesthesia, and should consider supplementation to replace important nutrients, such as folic acid and calcium, which are known to be depleted by general anaesthetic's (Pelton R et at., Drug Induced Nutrient Depletion Handbook, Ohio: Lexi-Comp, 1999). Vitamin C (and N-acetyl cysteine) should not, however, be taken immediately before dental treatment as they may reduce the effectiveness of the anaesthetic. The mouth is a sensitive barometer of what is going on elsewhere in the body. Recently, the American Academy of Periodontology publicly stated its concern over the link between gum disease and heart disease (see www. perio.org/consumer/bacteria.htm). The future direction of holistic dental practice will need to build on such connections as well as integrate with other specialties, such as craniosacral therapy, osteopathy, chiropractic and nutritionists. The use of saliva tests, plaque analysis and other assessments to detect abnormal biochemistry within the oral cavity needs to be developed to allow easier diagnosis of disease elsewhere in the body.

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