Few people enjoy going to the dentist, but for someone with fibromyalgia, it can be an extremely frightening and painful experience. The pain increase caused by a dental visit can be enough to send someone with FMS into an anxiety attack long before the visit day even arrives.
Fears of the emotional and physical distress of a dentist appointment are very real if you have fibromyalgia, but the last thing you want to do is skip going to care for your oral health altogether.
Bringing extra anxiety
Going to the dentist is worse for fibromyalgia patient because it is stressful thinking about the pain and flare that a dentist visit can possibly cause, setting you on a downward spiral for weeks.
While fibromyalgia pain is widespread, it is often most prevalent in the head and neck, which sets up the fear of dental problems, and the fear is not unfounded. Those with FMS may be more susceptible to these issues – especially if they continually put off going to see the dentist and need to spend more time getting worked on.
Other fears which fuel anxiety over dentists if you have fibromyalgia is that an infection may come and cause a flare of the syndrome, debilitating your body for long periods; the after visit pain will be unbearable; or, the dentist will be unable to numb you enough, since those with FMS usually require more shots to be numbed.
Sensitivity to touch
The fear of going to the dentist with fibromyalgia is mostly founded in the sensitivity to being touched. Simple touching can cause pain in overly sensitive fibromyalgia nerves. This symptom may cause a lack routine dental hygiene, such as flossing and brushing, to be avoided because of the pain it causes. This would make those with FMS more in need of regular dental visits than most.
To ease the pain before going to the dentist, prepare for this in advance with anti-inflammatories, just check with the dentist about which ones to use. Some medications, such as aspirin, can cause increased bleeding– something you definitely do not want when you are having dental work.
No tolerance to pain
It is a bit of a catch-22 for fibromyalgia patients since going to the dentist can cause pain, but not going regularly can cause more pain since you’ll have to sit in the chair longer and have more work done on your teeth. Also, it is important to make sure the pain in your jaw that you’ve been considering part of fibromyalgia syndrome for the last few months is not really a dental problem.
With FMS, you can sometimes start believing all the pain you have is from the disease and not consider other causes, such as a tooth abscess which is badly infected. Only regular dental visits can identify problems like this.
The numbing shots alone can cause a trip to the dentist to be worse for those with fibromyalgia, especially when you need more than the norm, but you can ask for desensitizing gel to help a bit with the pain. I don’t be afraid to speak up if you aren’t as numb as you should be. A dentist has no what of knowing that unless you tell him. The last thing a dentist wants is to cause unnecessary pain.
Don’t give up the Dentist
It is important if you have fibromyalgia to not give up on going to the dentist for regular visits. Ask your friends about their dentists. Find a dentist who is not only knowledgeable on fibromyalgia and its impact on the widespread pain. You also want to make sure he is sensitive to your specific needs, whether it’s severe anxiety, TMJ, more than average numbing, or low tolerance to pain – all part of fibromyalgia.
As soon as you schedule your dentist appointment, ask about medications you can take in advance to ease your anxiety and pain. You also want to discuss and what you will be given during and after the procedure to handle your unique pain.
Dentists sensitive to the fact that a visit is worse for fibromyalgia patients can use relaxation techniques in their offices, such as more comfortable chairs and soothing music. You might also want to consider complete sedation or at least a medication which will alter consciousness so you don’t feel much while you are there. It is possible to make a trip to the dentist easier – even if you have fibromyalgia.