Answers to frequently asked questions

FAQ Session

We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions to help you feel comfortable and in charge of your dental and healthcare choices. We want you to be confident in choosing the most suitable treatment options for you or your loved one.

Feel free to contact us directly if you have any other questions at all. We will be happy to answer them!

FAQ Session

One of the differences between the general dentist and the orofacial pain specialist is in the area of education and training.

An orofacial pain (OFP) specialist needs to undergo additional training to expand their scope of dentistry knowledge beyond that of a general dentist. These formal clinical training are also known as ‘residencies’ in the USA. Many rigorous examinations need to be passed before they can be qualified.

As a result of this advanced training, the orofacial pain specialist has more in-depth knowledge of pharmacology and oral medicine. They are familiar with medications that are not typically prescribed in general dentistry.

An orofacial pain dentist should be competent in diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation and prevention of orofacial pain disorders. These include but are not limited to: neuropathic pain, masticatory, cervical pain, musculoskeletal pain, neurovascular pain, psychological concerns and sleep disorders.

Orofacial pain is a much needed speciality that is rapidly evolving in the field of dentistry. It is important for general dentists to be able to recognise the symptoms of orofacial pain, so that they can refer their patients to a dental practitioner who can help manage their pain.

Disclaimer: As of March 30, 2020, the ADA (American Dental Association) has officially recognised Orofacial Pain as its 12th dental speciality. Any reference to ‘specialist’ is made in the context of the United States of America. Please refer to our Disclaimers page for more information.

According to the American Academy of Orofacial Pain (AAOP):

“Orofacial Pain (OFP) is the specialty of dentistry that encompasses the diagnosis, management and treatment of pain disorders of the jaw, mouth, face, head and neck.

The specialty of OFP is dedicated to the evidenced-based understanding of the underlying pathophysiology, etiology, prevention, and treatment of these disorders and improving access to interdisciplinary patient care.”

These pain disorders include TMD / TMJ Disorders, sleep disorders, migraine disorders, headaches and more.

In order to be recognised as an Orofacial Pain Specialist, a dentist has to be a Fellow of the American Academy of Orofacial Pain (AAOP), or complete a formal advanced training education in Orofacial Pain that is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA), or has passed the American Board of Orofacial Pain (ABOP) Certification Examination.

They also need to demonstrate clear understanding of orofacial pain through graduate or post graduate training, research or clinical experience.

These additional years of academic training and clinical experience that the Orofacial Pain Specialist has to undergo are invaluable, as they diagnose, manage and treat Orofacial Pain in their own clinical practice.

Read more about what an Oral Medicine & Orofacial Pain specialist does and how they can help here.

*Disclaimer: Any reference to ‘specialist’ is made in the context of the United States of America and not Singapore. Please refer to our Disclaimers page for more information.

“Board Certification is the process by which dentists (DDS, DMD), physicians (MD, DO) or other healthcare practitioners in the United States demonstrate through written, oral, practical, and/or simulator based testing, a mastery of the basic knowledge and skills that define an area of dental/medical specialisation.

The commonly used acronym BE/BC (board eligible/board certified) refers to a doctor who is certified, or is eligible to be certified, to announce specialisation in a particular area of practice.

Prior to taking the examination, a dentist or physician must graduate with a degree, either DDS, DMD, MD or DO, complete approved post-graduate training and meet all other prerequisites to certification as set forth by the certifying agency or “board.”

Board Certification helps ensure the public that formal training has been completed and a sufficient knowledge base in the specialty has been demonstrated.”

(Source: American Board of Dental Specialties)

Disclaimer: Any reference to ‘specialist’ is made in the context of the United States of America and not Singapore. Please refer to our Disclaimers page for more information. Oral Medicine & Orofacial Pain are currently not dental specialties in Singapore.

Some conditions that Orofacial Pain Specialists treat include, but are not limited to:

Clinical examinations can sometimes show no dental pathologies (i.e. the teeth and surrounding structures appear ‘normal’), yet the patient still experiences pain. These patients often undergo expensive and/or unnecessary dental treatments such as root canals and tooth extractions, in an attempt to fix the pain. When the pain is unexplained or invisible, it is best to seek out an Orofacial Pain Specialist for a proper diagnosis and treatment before undergoing irreversible procedures.

Click here for more information on Orofacial Pain Treatment at Nourish Dental & TMJ Care, and visit the following posts to learn more:

*Disclaimer: Any reference to ‘specialist’ is made in the context of the United States of America and not Singapore. Please refer to our Disclaimers page for more information.

Dr Chionh would typically begin by asking several questions about your medical history, medications you may be on, recent injuries, and other health conditions. Dr Chionh will then examine your jaw, face, neck, ears, mouth and throat.

There are five main pairs of muscles that control your jaw. Dr Chionh will manipulate your jaw in various directions and motions, in order to judge the extent of the problem. If a closer look is needed, an x-ray, MRI or CT scan may be taken as well.

With that, Dr Chionh will be able to diagnose your condition and the following treatment options may be recommended:

  • Medication
  • Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT)
  • Splint Therapy
  • Physical Therapy
  • Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)
  • Ultrasound
  • Other more complex procedures for more severe cases

Visit Our Services page for more information.

All joints in our body serve to hold our skeleton together, and to facilitate movement and rotation.

We have a joint in each side of our jaw, known as the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which connects our jawbone to the skull. Without the TMJ, we will not be able to open our mouths or chew.

‘TMD’ stands for temporomandibular muscle and joint disorder. This is a group of conditions that arise from problems with our jaw, bite, head, facial and neck muscles, and also the TMJ. This can result in orofacial pain and loss of function in those areas.

Read more about TMD symptoms on our TMJ Disorder Treatment page.

The Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) is also known as the ‘Jaw Joint’. or the ginglymoarthrodial joint.

We may not realise it, but the TMJ is one of the most used joints in our bodies. Without it, we will not be able to talk, chew or swallow.

Whilst the root cause of TMD is yet unknown, there are a few triggers, some of which may be stress related. Some of these causes include:

  • Habitual grinding or clenching of teeth
  • Arthritis (Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, etc)
  • Other inflammatory and musculoskeletal disorders
  • Jaw injuries or trauma
  • Poorly positioned teeth
  • Poor posture (especially in the neck and upper back areas)
  • People who have a genetic disposition to pain and/or stress sensitivities
  • Orthodontic braces
  • Excessive gum chewing

TMD can affect anyone, but is more common in adults between 20 – 40 years of age, and more prevalent in women than men. It is also estimated that more than 30 percent of adults will suffer from TMD at some point in their lives.

Read more about TMD on our TMJ Disorder Treatment Page.

Some of the symptoms of TMD include:

Read more about TMD on our TMJ Disorder Treatment Page.

You may be surprised, but TMD can also cause ear pain. Our ears are delicate, complex organs, and are in close proximity to the TMJ (temporomandibular joint).

TMD can cause tinnitus (ringing in the ears), hearing loss, vertigo, otalgia (ear pain), swelling, inflammation and other ear related problems.

Our ears play a crucial role in our body’s equilibrium. Hence, you may experience dizziness or have trouble with your balance, as a result of these issues.

In fact, up to almost 80% of TMD patients report having pain or problems in their ears (Tuz et al., 2003). The body operates as a whole, and problems in one area can often affect other parts, too.

Our clinic is equipped with otoscopic (ear scope) facilities for a thorough and comprehensive ear check-up. You can learn more about our clinic here, and read a case study of Tinnitus related to TMJ which we treated.

Dr. Eric Chionh Chye Kiat helms Nourish Dental Sleep & TMJ Care, and takes a special interest in TMD / TMJ Disorders, pain and sleep dentistry, sleep apnoea, surgery and oral medicine.

He is formally trained in Oral Medicine and Orofacial Pain, and holds a Singapore Dental Council approved qualification in these areas. He is also a qualified sleep dentist under the European Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (EADSM).

His approach is objective and analytical, and he has a keen interest and passion in pain management. He strives to give accurate diagnoses so that proper treatment can be administered, thus improving his patients’ quality of life.

He is happy to and enjoys discussing pain and sleep issues in depth with his clients. He believes that knowledge is empowerment, and that it helps patients to feel more confident about managing their pain conditions.

Read more about Nourish Dental Sleep & TMJ Care on our blog.

*Disclaimer: Any reference to the terms ‘Orofacial Pain, ‘Oral Medicine’ and ‘Fellowship(s)’ are made within the context of the USA and not Singapore. The designation of ‘qualified sleep dentist’ is only used in the sole context of the European Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine, an organisation founded and governed by university and hospital-based practitioners which sets the standards of competency in the practice of Dental Sleep Medicine across Europe; dental sleep medicine is not an established dental specialty in Singapore. Read our Disclaimers page for more information.