Dentistry and physiotherapy, a multidisciplinary combination in the making
With his illustrations in the mid-30s, the gynaecologist and science figure Fritz Kahn managed to make the concepts of machine and human body remain related forever.
In the visual style of Chaplin’s Modern Times, the illustrations of the German are small beings who converse and work in the human head to issue orders through various machines, photographers with cameras whose lens protrudes the eyelid or gears with cogs that crush the food inside the mouth. Images that reflect how the human body functions as a machine in which everything is connected through different systems such as the nervous, the cardiac, the respiratory or the digestive to achieve a perfect synergy.
For medicine it is key to take into account these connections in the search for solutions to any disease or disorder. That is why it is so important that the different disciplines unite efforts in each patient. Today we see how, for example, cardiologists and pulmono-logists work and research accordingly, or how stomatology has always been linked to dentistry. However, there are specialities whose connection is not yet so ingrained. This is the case of physiotherapy and dentistry.
Noemí Dávila, physio-therapist at the Artedental clinic, in Puerto de la Cruz, explains that the goal of starting work in this centre begins with the rehabilitation treatments of the temporomandibular joint or ATM, the articulation of chewing. This, together with the muscles of chewing, connect the jaw to the skull.
Among the TMJ pathologies, bruxism, the habit of clenching and grinding the teeth due to, among other things, stress and a misaligned denture stand out. It can cause headaches, back, jaw, ear and neck. Any TMJ-related disorder is treated at the dentist, and if he sees it necessary, he is referred to a physiotherapist. The novelty of Artedental is that it has incorporated this speciality to the services offered by the clinic, betting on the fusion of these two disciplines.
Dávila recognises that it is practically impossible to find such a fusion on the island. “It is true that there are physiotherapists who treat patients referred by the dentist in their private centres but this is the only dental clinic that I know that offers the two services.” Moreover, he continues, “most people do not know that there is physiotherapy of the face, specifically of the mouth. However, when you describe the mouth joint, you understand the logic. “
It is a work of coordination between the dentist and the physiotherapist. “The dentist sees the patient first, values the joint and the bite. It tells you if you need a discharge splint or if you have a muscle pathology, which I would try, explains the Artedental physi-otherapist. “In the sessions we treat all the musculature of the mouth, the external and the internal. We massage and stretch the chewing muscles and move the jaw. We teach exercises so that patients have more flexibility in the mouth, stretching and self-massage exercises to relax in times of stress. It is a very grateful treatment and from the first session there are results, depending on the compli-cation of each patient.”
In his commitment to this synergy, the medical director of Artedental, Víctor Cubillo, has also finished a master’s degree in Barcelona on occlusion (for bite treatments) and implant prostheses, the other great speciality of the clinic. “The objective is to offer the patient the most complete treatment and the com-bination of disciplines and training are undoubtedly the way forward”, concludes Cubillo.