Complementary medicine in dentistry


Does a sensitive gag reflex or a fear of oral hygiene treatment prevent your teeth from getting the professional clean they really need?

Acupuncture is a form of complementary medicine that could make your dental treatment more comfortable. Gemma, one of our hygienists here at The Dental Surgery, is a member of the British Dental Acupuncture Society. She can provide treatment with acupuncture to reduce dental anxiety and sensitive gag reflexes.

How does it work?

Acupuncture involves the use of very fine sterile needles placed at specific sites to affect the body’s flow of energy or qi (chi). By releasing the natural pain killers endorphins and serotonin, the needles stimulate the nervous system to produce a number of effects modifying the way pain signals are interpreted. With as little as 5 needles nerves, sweaty palms, increased anxiety or sensitive gag reflexes can be suppressed.

Generally 70% of patients will experience some form of relief. Although the effects are quick acting with anxiety, depending of the severity of the gag reflex more than one appointment might be necessary.

What our patients have to say about this treatment

When I started to visit Gemma, I had been attending a dentist in Leeds who had not spent time looking after my oral health, and combined with problems associated with an active gag reflex my mouth was in a fairly poor state. Gemma managed the gag reflex by working gently, but thoroughly, and allowing me control of the process by advising me to raise my arm at any time should I need to stop. This empowerment allowed me to tolerate much greater levels of treatment than had previously been possible. As a consequence, my oral health has improved greatly and a couple of teeth that were at risk 3 – 4 years ago are now in much better health. Recently Gemma started to use acupuncture to further control my gag reflex. Although initially sceptical I was pleased to discover that the use of the needles did reduce my levels of tension and has greatly improved the quality of my teeth and gums. I would certainly now have fewer teeth had I not had the benefit of her treatment.” – Jason, patient at The Dental Surgery.

Minimising anxiety

Other ways in which we can minimise anxiety during hygiene treatments include the use of:

  • Blankets
  • Lavender wheat bags
  • Televisions & Music Systems
  • Essential Oil Diffusers
  • Hot towel machines

If you would like to know more about treatment with acupuncture please contact us.

Read more on our related blog Acupuncture and Dentistry.