Answers to frequently asked questions

FAQ Session

We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions here to help you feel comfortable and in charge of your dental and healthcare choices. We want you to be confident in choosing the best 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 is 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.

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.

Dr. Eric Chionh Chye Kiat helms Nourish Dental Care, and takes a special interest in TMD, pain and sleep dentistry, dental implants, surgery and oral medicine.

He is formally trained in Oral Medicine and Orofacial Pain, and holds a Singapore Dental Council approved qualification in Oral Medicine.

He is highly analytical, and 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 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 Care on our blog.

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

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 tempormandibular 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 blog.

Whilst the root cause of TMD is yet unknown, there are a few triggers that can be stress related. Some of which are:

  • 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.

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. 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.

Some of the symptoms of TMD include:

  • Orofacial pain (pain felt in the mouth, jaws or face)
  • Neck aches
  • Frequent headaches
  • Migraines
  • Crunching or clicking sensations and sounds on either side of your jaw
  • Muscle spasms in the jaw
  • Difficulty chewing food
  • Locking of the jaw
  • Jaw pain
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Shoulder & neck aches
  • Tinnitus
  • Ear pain