Acupuncture As A Complementary Modality For Dental Treatment

October 1st, 2012


Acupuncture in dentistry as an adjunct treatment for many conditions has been practiced and researched in institutions throughout Asia and Europe for many decades. Only recently has this practice begun to gain traction in practice in the United States entering into academic clinics such as University of North Carolina Dental School Clinic.

I have made it my aim to educate my patients and a variety of dental professionals about the scope of acupuncture and how it can provide lasting relief of acute and chronic issues including the following

  • Temporomandibular disorders including pain, clicking and locking
  • Chronic muscle pain or spasm
  • Atypical facial pain
  • Tension and migraine type headaches
  • Nerve pain, nerve injury, post herpetic neuralgia
  • Gag reflex
  • Dental anxiety
  • Dry mouth
  • Rhinitis and sinusitis
  • Post operative pain

If you are a dentist, oral surgeon, or dental student, I have provided links to abstracts below that will demonstrate where acupuncture has been reviewed and advised as a treatment for these conditions. You will also find where researchers have found that, despite a strong historical precedent for use of acupuncture for a condition, further research is warranted.

If you are a practitioner and would like a demonstration or presentation for your office or colleagues, please contact us to schedule. If you are an individual seeking treatment for one of these conditions and would like me to communicate with your dentist or oral surgeon about treatments or treatment plans, I am willing to do this. – please contact me directly.


Systematic reviews

Introduction to acupuncture in dentistry.

Br Dent J. 2000 Aug 12;189(3):136-40.

Rosted P.


The use of acupuncture in dentistry: a review of the scientific validity of published papers.

Oral Dis. 1998 Jun;4(2):100-4.

Rosted P.


Temporomandibular Dysfunction

Practical recommendations for the use of acupuncture in the treatment of temporomandibular disorders based on the outcome of published controlled studies.

Oral Dis. 2001 Mar;7(2):109-15.

Rosted P.


Effectiveness of acupuncture in the treatment of temporomandibular disorders of muscular origin: a systematic review of the last decade.

La Touche R, Angulo-Díaz-Parreño S, de-la-Hoz JL, Fernández-Carnero J, Ge HY, Linares MT, Mesa J, Sánchez-Gutiérrez J. J Altern Complement Med. 2010 Jan;16(1):107-12.


Bells Palsy

Physical therapy for Bell’s palsy (idiopathic facial paralysis).

Teixeira LJ, Valbuza JS, Prado GF. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011 Dec 7;(12):CD006283.

 Department of Neurology, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Wai Nan Guo Xue Xiang #37, Chengdu, Sichuan, China, 610041.


Dental pain

The effectiveness of acupuncture in treating acute dental pain: a systematic review.

Ernst E, Pittler MH. Br Dent J. 1998 May 9;184(9):443-7.


Dry Mouth

Randomized controlled trial of acupuncture for prevention of radiation-induced xerostomia among patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma.

Meng Z, Garcia MK, Hu C, Chiang J, Chambers M, Rosenthal DI, Peng H, Zhang Y, Zhao Q, Zhao G, Liu L, Spelman A, Palmer JL, Wei Q, Cohen L.

Cancer. 2012 Jul 1;118(13):3337-44. doi: 10.1002/cncr.26550. Epub 2011 Nov 9.



Dental Anxiety

Auricular acupuncture effectively reduces state anxiety before dental treatment – a randomised controlled trial.

Michalek-Sauberer A, Gusenleitner E, Gleiss A, Tepper G, Deusch E.

Clin Oral Investig. 2012 Jan 6. [Epub ahead of print]

Trigeminal Neuralgia

Practical application of meridian acupuncture treatment for trigeminal neuralgia.

Beppu S, Sato Y, Amemiya Y, Tode I.

Anesth Pain Control Dent. 1992 Spring;1(2):103-8.

Post Operative Dental Pain

Acupuncture treatment of pain dysfunction syndrome after dental extraction.

Rosted P, Jørgensen V.

Acupunct Med. 2002 Dec;20(4):191-2.

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Making Congee

March 6th, 2011


Congee, also known as jook is a medicinal porridge made out of grains and consumed as part of a regular meal or as a delivery system for medicinal foods or herbs. I’ve included this congee recipe here as I often recommend patients of mine to include congee in their diet and to include herbs in it. Please see the list of grains below as they are often key to creating a recipe that will best suit an individuals constitution or condition.  Expect to see more interesting variations on this classic remedial dish as time goes on.

You will need:

1 part rice or grain (see list below of actions and indications for various grains)

8 parts water or broth

Various herbs, meats, fruits, etc. as desired (see variations below)

Making Congee:

Combine rice and liquid and cook overnight in a slow cooker or crock pot, or on the stove over a 2-4 hour period. If you intend to poach an egg or seafood in this you will want it to be on the soupier side and even add more water.  If you are using some of the beans mentioned below, it may make them easier to cook and digest to soak them over night before attempting to cook them.


–           cooking tasty things into the porridge – grains, fruits, nuts

–           grinding herbs into powder as if they were grain or flour – Ge Gen, Shan Yao, Poria

–           cooking herbs separately and adding this to the grain


Common grains added to congee and their beneficial effects.

Most of these terms are Chinese medical terms and may not make too much sense to most laypersons.  Even if much of this terminology means little to you, it will give the one a glimpse into how they might see food as medicine.

White Rice – slightly cool and sweet, for Stomach. Moistens Yin, clears heat, promotes diuresis, reduces swelling.

Brown Rice – neutral and sweet, nourishes Spleen and Stomach. Quenches thirst, alleviates irritability, astringes intestines, stops diarrhea.

Pearl Barley – cool and bland, G/B/ Spleen, Stomach. Promotes urination, clears heat, detoxifies.

Wheat – slightly cool and sweet. Clears heat, quenches thirst, relieves restlessness, promotes diuresis, calms spirit, stops sweating.

Millet – cool and sweet – stops vomiting, relieves diarrhea, astringes the stomach and intestines, soothe morning sickness.

Quinoa – warm, sweet and sour-supports kidney yang (Pitchford).

Cornmeal – neutral and sweet.  Tonify qi, strengthen the stomach and spleen, benefit the heart, diuretic, stimulate the flow of bile.

Aduki bean – neutral, sweet and sour. Strengthen spleen, benefits diabetes, clears heat and toxin, reduces dampness, benefits kidneys

Soy Bean – cool and sweet.  Clears heat, detoxifies, eases urination, lubricates lungs and intestines, provides excellent protein.

Mung Bean – cool, sweet, Organs: Stomach, Heart, Spleen – tonify qi and blood, sedate excess yang, nourish yin, counteracts toxins.

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