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Temporomandibular Disorders: Biofeedback

Topic Overview

You can use biofeedback to help reduce muscle tension related to temporomandibular disorder (TMD).

Biofeedback uses equipment that monitors muscle tension or skin temperature. Electrodes are placed on your jaw muscles. The electrodes detect electrical current produced by muscle contraction. If you clench your teeth or have poor posture, the biofeedback machine produces a signal. It might be an upward-pointing arrow or a beeping sound. As you relax, the arrow goes back down or the beeping stops or slows.

You and the biofeedback therapist monitor these visual measurements. You learn to recognize when emotional tension makes muscles tight and when relaxation makes muscles loosen. Under the therapist's guidance, you can use this information to learn relaxation techniques for controlling muscle tension and skin temperature.

Biofeedback is a conscious, learned relaxation. It may not be as effective as hypnosis techniques, which work on the subconscious level. Most habits like jaw clenching and tooth grinding are done unconsciously, often during sleep or times of intense concentration.

Related Information

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Arden Christen, DDS, MSD, MA, FACD - Dentistry
Last Revised January 11, 2012

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