Temporomandibular Joint Disorders have been in headlines recently as the invention of a holistic biofeedback headband is showing promise in detection and treatment of the painful conditions.
TMD, or Temporomandibular Joint Disorders are conditions that directly impact the hinge joints of the jaw, commonly referred to as the TMJ (temporomandibular joints). TMD can cause pain in the joint, as well as difficulties chewing and speaking. Often the cause of the problem is not entirely understood, but can, at times, be attributed to an accident involving whiplash or to a direct blow to the jaw. Arthritis can cause the joint to suffer from chronic pain as well. In other instances, regular grinding or clenching of the teeth can lead to stiffness, soreness, and even inflammation of the joint.
In Waco, TX, a TMJ Dentist will often hear complaints regarding noticeable swelling on the side of the face, a jaw that locks up, or sudden popping or grating sounds as the person speaks or chews. TMD can occur on a single side of the face or may impact both joints simultaneously. In fact, this will often help the dentist determine the likely cause of the discomfort and other symptoms.
The reason for the renewed interest in this long time condition within media sources was the news of Holistic Technologies FDA-approved SleepGuard. There have been mouth guards long in use by dental patients suffering with TMD. The mouth guard prevents the harsh grinding and clenching of the jaw that can significantly increase the effects of TMD. However, there are some complaints made by those who utilize the mouth guards.
The primary downfalls of the nighttime apparatus is regarding the comfort of wear, the cost, and the quick deterioration as it is chewed and chomped over night. For this reason, SleepGuard was developed. It relies on biofeedback to reduce clenching and grinding. The headband can be worn more comfortably, does not wear out as the mouth guards do, and it sells for less money currently.
Clenching of the teeth can be felt in the temples. A simple finger to the temple while chewing demonstrates this fact. The head back reads those contractions of the muscle and using that information will sound a quiet alarm when the force or frequency is excessive. Over time – with daytime training – a person will stop the clenching and grinding at the sound without being conscious of it.
Clinical trials suggest that the apparatus is not for everyone. In fact, twenty percent of patients reported little or no improvement. However, there is hope, for the larger percentage of participants reported a noticeable improvement in their pain levels.
A Waco dentist might not be ready to suggest the switch from mouth guard to the biofeedback headband known as SleepGuard just yet, but the solution could prove very useful for many patients in the future. In the meantime, it is important that the American public be aware of the condition and the complications that can arise as result of it. While the pain may be bearable and the symptoms relatively minor at first, if the condition is not properly treated, it can get much worse. In some cases, that can lead to the need for surgical intervention.
Steven T. Cutbirth DDS
1613 Lake Success Drive
Waco, TX 76710
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