The Risks of Using TENS in Dentistry

TENS, or Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation, is a form of pain relief that has been used in dentistry for many years. It is a safe and effective treatment for many people, but there are some risks associated with its use. In this article, we will discuss the types of TENS, the techniques used, and the potential risks associated with its use. TENS is a form of electrical stimulation that is used to reduce pain. It works by sending electrical pulses through electrodes placed on the skin.

These pulses stimulate the nerves and can help to reduce pain. TENS can be used to treat a variety of conditions, including muscle tension, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problems, and masticatory dysfunctions. TENS can be classified into two main types: conventional TENS and ultra-low frequency (ULF) TENS. Conventional TENS produces low-intensity pulsed currents with a high frequency. It is typically used in clinical settings by medical professionals.

ULF TENS produces low-intensity pulsed currents with a low frequency. It has been found to be clinically safe and effective in treating masticatory dysfunctions, hypertonic (tense) muscles, and TMJ alteration problems related to temporomandibular disorder (TMD).TENS can also be used in different ways. People can carry a TENS unit in their pocket or clip it to a belt for easy access throughout the day. Acupuncture-like TENS (AL-TENS) is a hyperstimulation method that is frequently used in patients who do not respond to conventional TENS.

Finally, high-frequency TENS is a more effective pain reliever.

Risks Associated with Using TENS

While it's generally safe for most people, experts recommend that some groups of people avoid TENS treatment unless a doctor recommends its use. These groups include pregnant women, people with pacemakers or other implanted medical devices, people with epilepsy or other neurological disorders, and people with skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis. It is also important to note that using a TENS unit while driving or operating heavy machinery involves theoretical risks. Therefore, it is recommended to avoid using a TENS unit during these activities. Finally, it is important to note that while some studies have found that people who receive TENS through acupuncture points may experience a reduction in pain, more research is needed to arrive at a definitive position on the place of TENS in the treatment of pain.


TENS is generally safe for most people and can be an effective form of pain relief for many conditions. However, there are some risks associated with its use and it should only be used under the guidance of a qualified medical professional.

Before beginning any form of TENS treatment, it is important to undergo a formal pain evaluation by an experienced professional and receive full instructions on how to use the device.

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