When it comes to relieving tooth pain, placement of the electrodes is key. To target the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), the pads should be placed at the base of the head and neck, on either side of the area where facial or mandibular pain is most severe. The signal is then passed from one electrode to another, passing through the pain site. TENS electrode pads are usually placed on each temporomandibular joint, as well as on the neck, below the base of the head.
This placement can help reduce symptoms associated with TMJ, such as headaches, neck pain, and back pain. The TENS units used in dentistry are different from those used in chiropractic and other applications; dental TENS units work to alleviate the root cause of pain and provide a good starting point for long-term treatment. Some TENS units are designed for use in a hospital or health center and others are safe to use at home. Active TENS therapy has been found to be effective in treating pain in patients with temporomandibular disorder (TMD), particularly in cases of muscle or chronic pain and in opening the mouth.
This is because a TENS unit sends electrical impulses through the skin via electrodes that monitor pain signals in the body, providing temporary or permanent relief from pain associated with arthritis, surgery, bursitis, migraines and injuries. The difference in success rates could be due to the disparity between study samples in terms of biological, psychological and social components that affect TMD, as well as to the stimulation parameters used in TENS therapy. A conventional TENS device, intended for use by a medical professional in a clinical setting, typically produces low intensity pulsed currents with a high frequency. Some people experience permanent pain relief after multiple sessions with a TENS unit while others need TENS therapy for an extended period of time.