If you suffer from tinnitus, the thought of facing the dentist's drill may be enough to strike fear in your heart. This is because it is common knowledge among tinnitus sufferers that the high-pitched sound of a dentist's drill can worsen tinnitus symptoms and even cause the condition. One study even found that dentists themselves are at risk of developing tinnitus due to their constant exposure to noisy instruments.
However, despite the risks, if you take the necessary precautions beforehand, you can minimize the risk and at the same time, avoid the deterioration of your oral health.
Delaying Treatment Will Only Make Things Worse
Even if you are terrified of the possibility that a visit to your dentist will make your tinnitus worse, if you put off having a tooth treated, you may suffer as a result.
If a cavity in a tooth isn't treated, the tooth will eventually become infected. Once the tooth is infected, it is only a matter of time before an apical abscess develops. This abscess, which is situated at the tip of a root, can cause tinnitus or even make existing symptoms worse.
Opting for an Extraction May Lead to Higher Costs
Choosing an extraction instead of having a tooth treated will also lead to further costs as you will then need to replace the tooth or later deal with crowding issues. If your teeth bunch together as they lean into the gap left by the missing tooth, your bite will become misaligned, making it harder to clean your teeth.
Inform Your Dentist of Your Condition
When you call to make your appointment, ensure that you inform your dentist that you suffer from tinnitus. Armed with this knowledge, your dentist can then do some research and come up with a plan that will lessen the risk of worsening your tinnitus.
Ask Your Dentist to Drill in Bursts
One common method that dentists use for tinnitus sufferers is the "five on, 10 off" approach, which means that they drill for five seconds then stop for 10.
This is another reason to inform a dentist in advance.
Play Some White Noise During the Drilling
White noise is a great way to both reduce the ringing caused by tinnitus and to block out the sound of the dentist's drill. While much of the noise will be via bone conduction, which is why earplugs are not so effective, playing some white noise will reduce the impact of the dentist's drill on your ears.
Ask Your Dentist for a Local Anaesthesia
A highly effective way of reducing or actually stopping your tinnitus completely while receiving dental treatment is to ask for a local anaesthetic. According to a study in 1985, which tested 50 tinnitus sufferers, local anaesthesia-iontophoresis, when applied to one or both ears, can reduce or even stop tinnitus. Thirty-one of those involved in the study experienced an improvement after receiving a local anaesthetic.
If you suffer from tinnitus but are in need of some urgent dental repairs, don't postpone treatment. Call your dentist and, together, you can create a plan of action that will ensure that you can receive the necessary treatment without making your tinnitus worse.