Acupuncture, a treatment within Chinese Medicine, has been used to treat medical conditions for over 5000 years. As part of these treatments, acupuncture has been superb in treating all pain (both acute and chronic) conditions. In the 1950's, doctors in China began using acupuncture for dental anesthesia with great success, for tooth extractions as well as for complicated dental work where other forms of anesthesia was required. They found that patients were able to comfortably handle procedures and that their gum tissues were not inflamed further. (When dentists inject gum tissue with novacaine, there is usually an inflammatory process that occurs due to the injection/drug in addition to the tissue inflammation from the extraction/surgery.)
Susan Froehlich, LAc, from Columbia River Acupuncture has assisted patients who are either very allergic to drug anesthesia or who choose to use acupuncture instead of drug anesthesia. She has used acupuncture with patients during tooth extractions, oral surgery and tooth repair/fillings. The treatment consists of the insertion of fine solid, sterile needle into acupuncture points on the feet/lower leg, hands and ears, 30 minutes prior to the dental procedure. These remain until the procedure is finished and then are removed. Patients find this to be a comfortable alternative to the effects of the numbing novacaine as well as an amazing option for those who cannot use novacaine/lidocaine/etc.