On June 25, 2021, Seniors Today hosted its weekly Health Live webinar with Dr. Shailesh J Divecha who answered questions and spoke about dental concerns for seniors and specifically in relation to resolving migraine and neck/ shoulder/ back pain with jaw alignment
Dr Shailesh Divecha has been a dental surgeon for over four decades, and practises in Mumbai. A Bachelor of Dental Surgery, with a Postgraduate Certificates in current concepts in American Dentistry and in Advance Implantology from Germany, Dr Divecha is Fellow and Past President in Indian Society of Oral Implantologists from 2011-2013. He is an accredited member and Past President of the Indian Association of Aesthetic and Cosmetic Dentistry and a Fellow of Smylist Academy, Budapest.
It is his burning desire to relieve people from migraines, neck, shoulder, back pain arising from malalignment of upper and lower jaws.
- If your jaw is not aligned properly, you can have body pain which can be migraine-like pain, shoulder pain and stiffness of the back and shoulder. Having said that, Dr. Divecha adds that he does not mean that all pains are due to misalignment of the jaw, but most of them can be caused because of it.
- If you have the complain of neck stiffness and usually more in the early morning, when ever we swallow saliva, we tend to clench our jaw, and if our jaw is not aligned completely or if there is even the slightest change in the position of the alignment, the muscles are going to spasm. You don’t realise this during the day time, but when you sleep in the night your jaw tends to go back to its original place, one where the teeth might not meet well and in this case, every time that you swallow saliva while you’re asleep, the jaws shifts to come to the clenching position to help you swallow the spit. This itself gives rise to spasm of the muscles throughout the night. So when you wake up in the morning, you tend to wake up with stiffness of the neck, headache, stiffness or ache in the shoulder.
- One way to differentiate between pain or stiffness in the neck or the shoulders due to misalignment of the jaw or other causes is- the pain due to most of the other causes are relieved after taking some rest, while that is not the case when your jaw is not properly aligned.
- If you’ve struggled with back or shoulder pain but are also looking into getting new dentures made, the pain will eventually subside once you get the new dentures and they align your jaw correctly. If that does not happen, it could mean that the pain is due to some other reasons.
While making the dentures a few things that need to be kept in mind are:
- The alignment and relation of the upper jaw with respect to the lower jaw
- The height of the teeth
- The position of the jaw
With correct dentures, you should not have a problem
- Tooth decay is not hereditary. It is an infection and so genetics have very little role to play and has more to do with the oral hygiene and the structure of your tooth.
- Dr Divecha recommends soft mouth guards because he says, the moment we put something in our mouth, we tend to chew on it. And it is the same habit of chewing with a misaligned jaw that also leads to the muscle spasm and the pain. The mouth guard will help you and ensure that you don’t grind away your teeth.
- The cost of the treatment varies. It varies on the individual problem and the treatment given to the patient.
- The cost of implanting a tooth varies from “X” amount to “6X” per implant depending on the company of the implant. A ballpark figure would be ₹40,000 for a reasonably good implant.
- If you do not use dentures, it affects your complete body health. As your age advances, your bodily functions and systems become slower. You cannot digest the food how you could when you were young, so how can you help the digestive system? By chewing the food properly so your body continues to get good nourishment.
- If you have a broken or cracked tooth, it can cause injury to the tongue or it can even lead to a non-healing ulcer in the worst possible scenario.
Pain should not be the only driving force that takes you to the hospital, so be alert for warning signs beforehand.
Dr Shailesh Divecha can be reached at Aum Dental, Mumbai, at aumdental [at] gmail.com. The address: 7, Joshi House, 134 August Kranti Marg, Cumballa Hill Road, Kemps Corner. Landmark: Opposite Shalimar Hotel