Sunday, October 28, 2012

Migraine teeth and a DENTAL RANT

plus a list of suggestions for those of you who suffer the same fate.

Toothy pumpkin w/ crazed eyes
I've always had great teeth and, with fairly good/ ordinary dental hygiene practices at home, no major issues.  

That all ended 5 to 8 years ago when they began to pile on the meds to try to prevent my migraines.  This was not a readily apparent cause and effect relationship until recently when I began to look into it. Then, when I went to MHNI (Michigan Head Pain and Neurological Institute) in April, I learned that almost everyone, that is all the patients, had the same story:  lots of decay resulting from multiple medications changing the chemistry in the mouth.  Is this starting to sound familiar to some of you?  I'd like to know.

My dentist began to hound me about doing better home care of my teeth, implying I was neglecting them even though I brush and floss daily.  While he made me fill out a list of current medications like competent dentists do, he apparently never bothered to look at this list and consider that it might be connected to my ongoing troubles.  Over the course of three or four years things continued to go down hill.

I bought a fancy electric toothbrush which I now use regularly because it's supposed to be better.  I began to use special, very expensive ($ 15.00 a tube) floride tooth paste recommended by my dentist.  I began carrying a water bottle (in my new 'water-bottle-enhanced' bag).  I bought some Biotene spray and mouthwash, which I don't use enough because it tastes like shit - to me.

Next trip to the dentist brought still more bad news, more cavities (plural).  It also gave me a headache, which nearly always happens when I go to the dentist because he's cramming his hand and all sorts of nasty equipment into my face and mouth and using machines that have really irritating high-pitched sounds.

It also made me furious for days afterward because he suggested once again that I wasn't flossing.  I do, every night like clockwork.  He said it didn't look like I had dry mouth.  And he suggested maybe I should just change my headache meds, which, by the way, have been working fairly well lately.  At an earlier appointment he suggested maybe I should find a new headache doc since he obviously hadn't "cured" my headaches.

That's when I realized this guy has not a clue, not even a tiny inkling of an idea of what I'm dealing with everyday; thus his advice is, to say the least, not exactly on target.  I just wanted to walk out and never come back and find a new dentist instead of this quack.  BUT, he is the family dentist.  Everyone in my family goes to him, and I would probably just have to start over and educate a new guy about all this.  SO I'm going to work to try mightily to bring this one up to speed.  This is a story that will be continued no doubt.  In the mean time, here's what I've learned from my own research that might help you.  The jury's still out.

What're you gonna do?
1.  I use a Philips Sonicare FlexCare+ toothbrush, which costs somewhere in the neighborhood of $ 100.00 on Amazon right now.
2.  I use Fluoridex toothpaste which is pricey at a cost of about $ 15.00 per tube.
3.  I try to brush 3x daily, once w/ the Fluoridex and the other times w/ no toothpaste or with Uncle Harry's tooth powder which has very few ingredients since I'm pretty chemically sensitive.
4.  I try to drink a lot of water.
5.  Since I don't like Biotene, I'm exploring other over the counter remedies for dry mouth including the following:  Oasis, Salvart, SalivaSure, Mouth Kote, Nature's Answer PerioWash, Omni Oral Care Products, and Orajel Dry Mouth.  The problem with many of these is they have some questionable chemicals in them for those of us who are sensitive.  Anyhow those are some options.
6.  There are some dietary suggestions I've come across as follows:  
  • Eat apples and cheese, especially at the end of a meal because they provide a strong stimulus for saliva production and they do not contain rapidly fermentable carbohydrates.
  • Brush your teeth immediately after eating.
  • Don't eat a lot of between-meal snacks.  The more often you eat, the more caries or cavities you are likely to get.
  • Eat a diet that helps you maintain an alkaline balance which includes many fresh vegetables and some fruits.
7.  Before I go to the dentist, I take half a klonopin, which is a benzodiazapine like zanax.  It helps me stay relaxed, which reduces the likelihood that I'll get a headache after my appointment.

Good Luck!

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