Once upon a time, it was so hard for me to get numb, they would use four times the regular dose of lidocaine. Even with this He-Man sized dose, it would take me twice as long to get numb. Once I was there, it would last well beyond the usual time it would take to wear off for other patients.
I’m in no way alone in reporting this peculiar side effect often reported in people with collagen disorders like EDS, HSD and Marfan’s, but can also be found in Fibromyalgia. I speculated for a long time about why this may be, and decided to try a few things to see if it improved the odds of getting numb for dental and medical procedures alike.
The idea came to me when reading extensively about fascia, myofascial dysfunction and some of the symptoms. Fascia is a thin network of connective tissue that effectively holds our body together and bundles our organs and muscles tightly together into their functioning units. Like all of our soft tissues, collagen is an important component of fascia.
What is Fascia & How Does It Affect Dental Care?
This network of connective tissue can be found in human and animal alike and it’s thought that it’s part of our endocrine system as well as our musculoskeletal system. When fascia becomes dysfunctional, thick adhesions form in our myofascial tissue. These adhesions can block blood flow to the affected area, starving it of oxygen and nutrients and create stagnancy where toxins build up over time. I believe this quote from Mitakides and Tinkle paper on the same subject speaks to these changes:
Functional consequences of altered collagen could also affect oxygen and nutrient delivery to the tissue affecting the overall health but this may also be affected in a pro-inflammatory state. Alterations of the extracellular matrix would also likely affect diffusion of not only nutrients but other small molecules and may be an important aspect of the observation resistance to local anesthesia.
Since our teeth are held in by ligaments and our jaws contain some rather complex connective tissue, I began to speculate that the way dysfunctional fascia behaves could be the reason it took me so long to get numb, so I made sure to blast my jaw and concentrate on my gums when I do so, a technique I’ll be demonstrating in video, below.
It took me a few years to test out my theory. I’d been blasting, but I had no need of procedures using lidocaine. Then I got to test it out once for my heart catheterization and 4 more times in the last 2 months! I was amazed by the difference.
When I had a kidney biopsy in 2001, I felt the entire thing, from the incision to the tissue excision.
I’d struggled with getting numb in the dentist’s chair since I was in my teens and had to argue with a number of dentists until I finally found one who would listen to me and adapt how to administer my lidocaine. It took a while, but we worked it out.
When I did my heart catheter, I expected pain, but I didn’t feel a thing until my coronary artery spasms began. The numbing agent worked and I couldn’t have told you there was anything in my wrist without seeing it.
Over the last two months, I’ve undergone a series of dental mishaps that have cost me no less than 3 teeth. All had to be removed for one reason or another, most of which I chalk up to EDS (gum disease, a tooth with a hairline fracture, and a tooth that had rotted all the way to the root despite regular check ups every 6 months).
I was numbed 3 times and each time we used a regular dose of lidocaine. Each time, I was numb within 15-20 minutes and it actually wore off at about the same time as the doctor told me it should for the dose I was given.
The 4th time was for my spinal tap and again I got numb quickly and the procedure was basically painless (you can feel it break through each layer though. Bit creepy).
I credit this miraculous transformation entirely to fasciablasting, which has helped to destroy my myofascial adhesions, reduce my pain, my toxin load and helped to restore normal blood flow. The faceblaster’s tiny claws let me get right to the gum line, even though you have to go over top of your lips and jaw.
I massage my jaw about once a month as maintenance, but you have to get there first. When first starting out, it’s a good idea to do it twice weekly, as it takes time to get those myofascial adhesions broken down before you can move to maintenance mode.
You can also see improvements to temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD), as myofascial adhesions tend to build up with the condition. Removing those adhesions can help the joint work better and stay in place. I’ve only ever had mild problems, but the adhesions were causing quite a lot of pain.
How to Blast the Jaw and Gums:
- Be gentle and use only a faceblaster
- Heat the area prior to blasting
- Use an oil or slippery facewash as a lubricant
- Avoid blasting the lips directly, if possible (the fasciablaster can tighten areas and might decrease your lip size)
- Include the entire jaw, the TMJ (temporomandibular joint), all the way around the ear, including your temples and working your way over the temples, especially if you have TMD.
- Blast for no more than 90 seconds to 3 minutes
- After blasting, gently flex your jaw and neck muscles a few times to activate and then gently massage the area with your hand, moving in downward motions toward the heart to help flush the area.
A cool bonus to doing this targeted treatment and restoring proper blood flow is that it can also help with gum disease. When blood flow is improved, so is gum health. If you already have gum disease like me, it certainly won’t cure it, but it will help with maintaining better gum health, possibly slowing the damage of periodontal disease.
If you want to begin these treatments, you just need a faceblaster. If you’re interested in full body fasciablasting, which has many benefits for EDS, Fibromyalgia and other pain conditions, you might be interested in this post: Fascia Treatments for Fibromyalgia and EDS.
Since you can’t really blast the gums on the inside of the teeth, you can do gentle massage with a toothbrush or even your finger, incorporating it into your dental care a few times a week. For more tips on dental care tools, toothpastes and washes, see the first post in this series: Dental Tips for EDS and HSD
Resources and Further Reading
- American Dental Association, Brushing Your Teeth
- American Dental Association. Five Steps to a Flawless Floss
- Colgate. Periodontal Ligament: What Is It?
- Nadia Kounang. CNN. New Study Raises Question About How Fluoride Affects Children’s Development
- HHS National Toxicity Program. Fluoride: Potential Developmental Neurotoxicity
- Fluoride Action Network. Fluoride Health Effects: Brain
- Healthline. How Do You Use Hydrogen Peroxide as a Teeth Whitener?
- John Mitakides and Brad Tinkle. The Ehlers-Danlos Society. Oral and Mandibular Manifestations in the Ehlers-Danlos Syndromes
- Emedicine Health. What is Gingivitis?
- Oral B. What is Periodontitis? Treatments, Signs, and Symptoms
- Science Direct. Pulp Stones: An Overview
- Winning Smiles Dental Care: What is Microdontia