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Charlotte Living Magazine

Groundbreaking Advancement in Headache Treatment Comes to Charlotte

July/August 2012


It is estimated that 80 percent of headaches may be caused by dental force related issues, which means if you suffer from chronic headaches it might be time to go to your . . . dentist!

According to the National Headache Foundation, over 45 million Americans suffer from chronic, recurring headaches. About 20 percent of children and adolescents also have significant headaches. And, according to the American Migraine Foundation, 36 million Americans (about 12 percent of the population) suffer from migraine headaches. One-in-four households in America have a member with migraines. Migraines are three times more common in women than men, with migraines affecting 30 percent of women over a lifetime.

Many people who suffer from headache problems have spent significant time and money looking for a solution. They have visited multiple health care professionals and tried various medications and therapies without much relief. Now, a new diagnostic and treatment system has been introduced to dental offices called TruDenta. This leading edge technology allows professionals to quickly pinpoint the problemand successfully alleviate the pain.

Local dentist Dr. Robert Harrell, Adult Dentistry in Ballantyne, has been implementing the TruDenta system with such dramatic success that he has opened a separate practice, The Charlotte Headache Center, to focus exclusively on treating patients with headaches, migraines and TMJ dysfunction.

Q: Dr. Harrell, when a patient who has suffered from migraines or chronic headaches comes to you, what is done initially to determine what couldbe the source of their symptoms?

A: The new technologies we use allow us to screen patients using a digital bite force analyzer to measure the different dynamic forces in the mouth (musculature, joints, teeth) to pinpoint imbalances. This allows us to determine the type of treatment or combination of therapies that might be needed. We also use a computerized tool that measures the cervical range of motion and identifies dysfunction or disability in the muscles of the head and neck. In a 15-minute screening appointment we can quickly rule in or rule out whether the patient’s headaches are related to improper or imbalanced forces.

Q: Does the program involve pain, needles or drugs?

A: No. In fact, it’s exactly the opposite. There is no pain whatsoever with our treatments. The TruDenta treatments are conservative and non-invasive and the program is specifically designed to help get patients off drugs. Most clients report that the therapies are very relaxing, and most experience pain relief after just one or two treatments.

Q: Give us an example of the kinds of treatments you might perform on a chronic headache sufferer.

A: Because headache and migraine sufferers have many sensitivities that can trigger pain, our treatment plans are designed to be slow, conservative and effective. We use a combination of FDA approved medical devices to reduce inflammation and restore blood flow in the muscles and temperomandibular joint (TMJ). Additionally we use low-level cold laser therapy to help restore energy at a cellular level. We also use a specially designed mouth orthotic that helps restore normal function in the TMJ and then selectively correct the bite imbalances with the aid of our digital bite analysis system. What really makes this system unique is the blend of treatments: neuromuscular sports medicine – targeting muscles and nerves – combined with advanced dental treatments targeting TMJ dysfunction and bite imbalance.

Q: What kind of results have you seen?

A: The results have been amazing. We have treated a number of patients who have been plagued with severe headaches and migraines for more than 10 years, robbing them of countless hours of their lives every week. These patients are crying in my office desperate for help. When you can completely take away their pain in a matter of weeks, it becomes a life changing experience for the patient. As a health care professional, the ability to help clients become free of pain is the most rewarding part of my practice.

Q:What else can the TruDenta technology and training you have received be used for?

A: The TruDenta system is not only effective on patients with TMJ problems, but also patients who clench or grind their teeth or have tinnitus (ringing of the ears). We can also help patients who are suffering as a result of head or neck injuries from sports related traumas, falls or car accidents.

Q: Is treatment affordable?

A: Are there options to pay for it? What about insurance coverage? We strive to make the cost of care affordable, with treatments ranging from several hundred dollars to several thousand dollars depending on the number and types of treatments needed. Certain insurance plans cover the treatment, and financing is available.

Q: How can we find out more about the TruDenta system?

A: Visit CharlotteHeadacheCenter.com for more information or call (704) 540-5850 to schedule a 15-minute screening appointment to see if we can help.

Article contributions by Anthony Stefanou, retired dentist and dental industry consultant.


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News Coverage
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Assessment & Treatment
  • Assessment Process
  • Treatment Process
  • Only Dental Professionals
  • Assessing DMSD
  • Bite Force Analysis
  • Mandibular Range of Motion
  • Cervical Range of Motion

Only Dental Professionals

In many cases, only dental professionals can help the estimated 80 million Americans suffering from the painful symptoms caused by improper dental forces, called dentomandibular sensorimotor dysfunction (DMSD).

READ MORE "...it is imperative to include the training for orofacial pain, particularly those from temporomandibular joint and musculoligamentous tissues.” JADA Cover Story, 10/2015, Vol. 146, Issue 10, Pg. 721-728

Assessing DMSD

20% of your existing patients suffer from DMSD, as do 20% of all Americans. Your team members quickly assess patients for "red flags" (which indicate DMSD), utilizing TruDenta's patented technologies.

The National Institutes of Health estimate that over 80 million Americans suffer from one or more of the symptoms of DMSD, including:
• Chronic Headache
• Migraine
• Tinnitus
• Vertigo

Bite Force Analysis

TruDenta uses digital force measurement technology, powered by Tekscan®, for evaluating the amount of bite force that is present during closure, at closure, and while chewing. The technology is so advanced that it actually calculates the bite force and motion on a tooth-by-tooth basis. This digital exam literally shows a movie of the bite force in action revealing abnormal forces in the nerves, muscles and ligaments that are often the cause of symptoms.

Bite balance is also calculated to identify potential issues within the overall chewing system. READ MORE

Mandibular Range of Motion

A normal opening for an adult is 53 mm to 57 mm. Limited or restricted range of motion (less than 40 mm) is a reduction in an individual’s ability for normal range of movement. Along with opening movement, an individual should be able to slide their jaw to the left and to the right at least 25 percent of their total mouth opening in a symmetrical fashion.

When restricted movement exists, an imbalance in the system is present, and breakdown of the system is likely to occur. READ MORE

Cervical Range of Motion

The TruDentaROM is a system of hardware and software that digitally measures cervical range of motion (ROM) impairment based upon AMA guidelines. This directly affects the proprioceptive feedback system of the dental occlusion, TMJ, and the muscles of mastication.

ROM impairment is another “red flag” which assists doctors in accurately diagnosing symptoms that are often dental force related. This data enhances medical insurance collections and the collaboration with referring medical doctors. READ MORE

  • Doctor Chair Time
  • Therapeutic Ultrasound
  • Microcurrent Stimulation
  • Low-Level Cold Laser

Less Than One Hour Doctor Chair Time

A typical case requires less than one hour of doctor time in the diagnosis and minor occlusal adjustments during the rehabilitation period.

Treatments are performed by a trained team member once per week, in less than one hour. The most severe cases require 12 treatments. Therapies are spa-like, non-invasive and require no drugs or needles. Most patients report dramatic results after the very fist treatment. Note: The majority of patients utilize an orthotic only during the treatment period, up to a maximum of 12 weeks. READ MORE

Therapeutic Ultrasound

The goal of therapeutic ultrasound treatment is to return circulation to sore, strained muscles through increased blood flow and heat. Another goal is to break up scar tissue and deep adhesions through sound waves.

Therapeutic exposure to ultrasound reduces trigger point sensitivity and has been indicated as a useful clinical tool for managing myofacial pain. Additionally, ultrasound also has been shown to evoke antinociceptive effects on trigger points. READ MORE

Microcurrent Stimulation

Sub-threshold microcurrent stimula¬tion reduces muscle spasm and referral pain through low electrical signal. It also decreases lactic acid build-up and encourages healthy nerve stimulation. In particular, microcurrent electrotherapy has been shown to help increase mouth opening significantly.

• Reduces muscle spasm and referral pain through low electrical signal
• Decreases lactic acid build-up
• Encourages healthy nerve stimulation
• Increases mouth opening significantly

Low-Level Cold Laser

Low level laser/light therapy is one of the most widely used treatments in sports medicine to provide pain relief and rehabilitation of injuries. Over 200 randomized clinical trials have been published on low level laser therapy, half of which are on pain.

Low level laser/light therapy decreases pain and inflammation, accelerates healing of muscle and joint tissue 25 to 35 percent faster than without treatment, and reconnects neurological pathways of nerves to the brain stem, thereby inhibiting pain. READ MORE

Additional Content & Resources
Download this eBook on The Hidden Causes of Head Pain
DRSdoctor training
Download this eBook on The Hidden Causes of Head Pain
Download this eBook on The Hidden Causes of Head Pain
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