What is TENS?
TENS stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Neural Stimulation and is simply the application of an electrical current through the tissue to stimulate the patient. As used in Neuromuscular Dentistry it is applied neurally so that the cranial nerves are stimulated which in turn will stimulate the muscles to contract.” The amplitude of the stimulus as well as the frequency can be carefully controlled to create the desired effect.” In creating the proper neutral resting position for our patient, the stimulus is provided every 1.5 seconds and this creates an antidromic effect on the brain allowing the brain to ‘forget’ where the habitual bite is and allow the patient to settle into the neutral physiologically correct relationship.”
This stimulus is applied to both the 5th and 7th cranial nerves to relax the muscles of mastication as well as the 11th”cranial nerve to help achieve a neutral and relaxed head posture. Critically important is the application of a TENS stimulus that is bilateral and simultaneous so that the current is delivered to both the right and left side at the same time and allows for more complete relaxation of the muscles of mastication and a more physiologically correct and neutral posture of the mandible during the workup and treatment of the patient.
This can be used in the dental office to find a more complete diagnosis or more accurate records as well as therapeutically and as a definitive protocol to protect optimal function and comfort for the patient.