What Is TENS and How Is It Used for TMJ?

TENS is short of Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. But what do those big, fancy words mean? Basically, a TENS unit includes a number of electrodes that are placed on the skin to provide stimulation to the nervous system.

There are many potential uses for TENS in medicine, such as pain blocking, but the use of TENS in neuromuscular dentistry is similar to that by chiropractors. It is used to stimulate your muscles to perform a kind of self-massage, allowing them to relax, which is a crucial first step in TMJ treatment.

In TMJ, your jaw muscles are out of balance with your bones and teeth. The result is that every time your jaw muscles are called on–thousands of times a day for swallowing alone, let alone talking and chewing!–they are straining against the unyielding hard tissues, which can result in tension, strain, pain, and more. Worse, this imbalance can impact the muscles in your face and neck that work with your jaw muscles, causing facial pain, headaches, neck pain, and more.

Relaxing your muscles can allow a neuromuscular dentist to evaluate the ideal position of your jaw. Once this ideal position is identified, your neuromuscular dentist can determine how best to ensure it stays there. Sometimes, regular TENS massages are sufficient to keep your jaw in proper position. Other times, the use of an oral splint (similar to a mouthguard you wear at night) might be recommended to keep your jaw in position. In extreme cases, surgery or reconstructive dentistry might be recommended to ensure that bones, teeth, and muscles remain in balance.

In TMJ treatment, the TENS machine can give immediate relief. If you are suffering from TMJ symptoms, please contact Dentonics, Inc in Pittsburgh today to learn how it can help you.

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