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Treating TMD with TENS

After your evaluation at Rochester Advanced Dentistry, you may receive a diagnosis of TMD (temporomandibular joint disorder). The painful symptoms of TMD can worsen over time, so we will work with you right away to develop a plan to treat them. One option for TMD treatment is TENS therapy. TENS stands for Transcutaneous [through the skin] Electrical Nerve Stimulation.

One function of TENS is to relieve the pain caused by TMD. TENS therapy also reduces hyperactivity in your jaw and facial muscles caused by TMD-related strain on those muscles. With the hyperactivity reduced, our neuromuscular dentists can determine your jaw’s most natural position.

What does TENS feel like?

In TENS therapy, the dentist will attach adhesive electrode patches around your jaw. Then, the TENS machine sends regular, minute pulses of electricity to the nerves beneath your skin. Most people describe the electric pulse as a tapping on their cheeks. Treatments take about an hour, during which you can read, nap, or do a crossword. The facial muscles expand and contract alternately in a relaxing way, making TENS almost like a facial massage using electricity.

How does it work?

TENS unit blocks pain by increasing the levels of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers, in the affected area. Endorphins block pain messages from travelling along nerves to reach the brain. Because of its effects on endorphins, TENS is effective for other conditions that cause chronic pain, such as arthritis.

TENS is also beneficial for treating TMD because it dampens the hyperactivity in the jaw and facial muscles that prevents the jaw bone from resting in its proper position. This allows the dentist to find that proper position, and determine the TMD treatment needed. Once we knows your ideal resting jaw position, we can figure out how to adjust for optimum occlusion’ the perfect fit for your upper and lower teeth.

Is TENS right for me?

Our staff and neuromuscular dentist at Rochester Advanced Dentistry are equipped to properly diagnose and treat TMD. After you’ve received a diagnosis of TMD, we will educate and advise you so that we can choose a treatment strategy together.

Dr. Doolin, Dr. Haddad, and Dr. Tironi are trained neuromuscular dentists serving Rochester, Rochester Hills, Oakland Township and surrounding areas of Michigan. For more information about TMD treatment or TENS therapy, please contact Rochester Advanced Dentistry via our website call (248) 656-2020.