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Tuesday, July 22, 2014 - 11:06am
By Sheila Birth, DDS, MS
It was in the summer before seventh grade that I visited an orthodontist for the first time. “Your teeth are perfectly straight,” the doc proclaimed while surveying my mouth. My bite, however, was rather wonky, which hinted at possible jaw problems down the road. Thus, the parental verdict was made: braces. I wore them pretty much without incident for nearly two years — as did lots of kids in my grade. The teachers grew accustomed to our recurring orthodontia appointments, which (to our delight) typically netted us early dismissals. (Relinquishing gum and other sticky stuff for a full 24 months was devastating to us preteens, but having a valid excuse to leave school early on a fairly regular basis helped to somewhat offset the injustice we felt.)
But that was back in the ’80s, an era when — at least compared with today’s more sophisticated dental industry — the options and innovations were nowhere near as plentiful and sophisticated as they are now. Plus, what once was a sector that seemed to cater almost exclusively to teenagers’ crooked teeth and off-kilter bites now also serves adults choosing to fix or enhance their choppers later in life. And it’s not just cockeyed bicuspids and cattywampus molars that have these folks dialing up an orthodontist. Believe it or not, it’s headaches, dizziness and other aggravating (and often debilitating) issues, according to local orthodontist Dr. Sheila Birth, D.D.S., M.S., whose practice offers a pioneering treatment for these problems: TruDenta.
“TruDenta is a system of care that is proven to help people suffering from headaches, migraines, tinnitus, vertigo and TMJ/TMD [temporomandibular joint disorder],” Birth explained. Until recently, she says, most dental pros didn’t realize that “dental forces” could be the cause of things like migraines and ear-ringing. “Any patient who suffers from these symptoms should be examined by a TruDenta doctor to determine if they’re a candidate for this care approach,” she recommended.
Although most of Birth’s TruDenta patients tend to be women, many men who’ve had some type of sports- or accident-related head trauma have also found relief with this treatment. “Even patients who’ve seen multiple specialists have come to us and found the solution to their symptoms in just a matter of weeks,” she said.
Since integrating TruDenta into their practice two years ago, she and her fellow doctors have been thrilled with the results, Birth says.
“When I first started practicing orthodontics in 1986, there was a cure rate of 30 to 40 percent for TMJ and dental headache patients,” Birth recalled. Those numbers, she says, left her and her peers underwhelmed, to say the least. “We could get teeth straight 100 percent of the time, but we weren’t satisfied with the cure rate for TMJ/TMD. Now we have new technology to see if the patient truly has a force imbalance (either muscles, joint or teeth) contributing to the TMJ. If they do, we can help them every time. … I love this, and our patients love the technology.”
For those of you who are, shall we say, more than a bit “dental phobic,” you can relax —TruDenta doesn’t hurt a bit (either physically or financially), Birth assures. “The exam is painless and free in our practice,” she said.
Oh, and just to further calm your fears: TruDenta doesn’t involve medication or — and this is a biggie — needles. (I’m pretty sure I just heard a collective sigh of relief.) In fact, Dr. Birth maintains, the treatment is actually quite “spa-like.”
Which means it’s way more fun than a middle-school braces adjustment … even the ones that got you out of math class early.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 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