Acupuncture as a method of inducing dental anaesthesia

Acupuncture is an ancient science followed to relieve pain due to various ailments in the body. This treatment was followed in India and China 5000 years back using thorns and needles. Acupuncture is based on the well accepted theory of  "Yang - Yin". This theory states that every human body behaves like one cell and has positive and negative charges, i.e., Yang is the proton, and Yin is the electron in the cell which represents the 'structure of matter'.

Electrical energy appears in the body at birth and lives in all the organs. Energy flows in a particular pattern when the human body is healthy, so that an energy balance is maintained in the body. When the function of the organ is altered, there is an imbalance in the energy flow

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In Acupuncture, the energy lines appear to flow from head to toe, involving all organs in a particular pattern known as " Meridian Lines ".

For the treatment of a particular ailment, a fine needle of guage 32, 1-1.5 inches in length, is inserted along the meridian line, which stimulates the particular organ along this line. The stimulation of electrical waves by the needle causes a release of Endorphins - 5 Hydroxy tryptamine and Epinephrine - which relieves pain by acting on higher centres in the brain.

Acupuncture also claims to have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial effects. It has proven effective in relieving chronic neck pain, headache, back pain, and neuralgias. It is also considered that the ears represent the whole body and have 62 points, by stimulating which, pain in different parts of the body can be relieved.

Acupuncture was used to induce dental anaesthesia in this patient, who required extraction of tooth 46 (# 30). The extraction was performed by Dr. Jain ( Postgraduate student ) and supervised by Dr. K.G. Ghorpade ( Professor & HOD ). Adequate anaesthesia was achieved for the extraction, making Acupuncture as one of the options to achieve dental anaesthesia without the use of pharmacological agents.

The technique was demonstrated by Dr. Rathnakanth . B . Patil ( Practising Acupuncturist, Bangalore ) at M.R. Ambedkar Dental College & Hospital.

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