It's vitally important to keep up with your regular dental appointments if you suffer from arthritis. Not only can medications and joint issues affect your dental health, it's also better to practice preventative care so you don't have to schedule more invasive treatments later. This problem is that a long stay in the dentist's chair can be highly uncomfortable if you suffer from arthritis pain. The following tips can help you alleviate this discomfort.
Tip #1: Schedule at the right time
Only you can know when you are at your stiffest. For many people, this is in the morning when they first wake up. For others, the stiffness and joint pain worsens later in the day, after they have been active for awhile. Schedule an afternoon appointment if you suffer from morning stiffness, or a morning appointment if you are wary of later day pain.
Tip #2: Inform the staff
Let the receptionist know at the time of scheduling that you have arthritis, then remind both the hygienist and the dentist during the appointment. Most offices have methods for relieving pain. For example, they may place pillows under knees or ankles to take stress off joints. They may also schedule extra time for your visit, so you can get up and move around regularly to prevent stiffening up.
Tip #3: Schedule multiple appointments
If you need a lengthy session, consider breaking it up into smaller appointments. For example, a deep periodontal cleaning can take a couple of hours, which can be tough if you have arthritis. Instead, ask your dentist if they can break this cleaning into either four quadrant appointments – where they clean one quarter of your teeth each time – or into two top and bottom teeth appointments. This way you won't be prone in the chair as long and you won't have to keep your mouth open for as long, which will minimize both stiffness and jaw pain.
Tip #4: Talk to your doctor
Call your arthritis doctor or general practitioner before your appointment if you are worried. They may be able to prescribe you a temporary pain killer or muscle relaxer that can help alleviate the pain. It's best to have these prescribed through your doctor, and not your dentist, to make sure they don't interact with your normal medications. Let your dentist know about any medications you are taking, including the temporary ones, so they can ensure they only choose safe pain management and numbing techniques during your visit.
For a dentist in your area, contact a facility such as Pine Lake Dental Group.