By Robert L. Harrell, DDS
There is an overwhelming need to treat patients suffering with chronic headaches and other symptoms affecting the head and neck areas. According to the National Institutes of Health, between 15 and 45 million Americans exhibit some form of TMJ/D issues.1 Statistics from the National Headache Foundation indicate that more than 45 million Americans endure recur- ring headaches, and within this group, 28 million suffer from migraines.2,3 Research suggests that up to 80 percent of headaches result from dental force related problems.
Fig. 1: Right, Dr. Robert Harrell’s trained staff provides TruDenta therapy.
A staggering number of people don’t know why they’re in pain, or have been un- able to find long-term relief. Many are unaware that dental force related issues — either specifically related to their mouth or as a result of traumas such as whiplash — can be the root cause of their pain. They usually don’t tell their dentist or physician about their chronic pain, and they’re unaware that treatment exists. I was fortunate to recognize the need for caring for these patients in a manner that provides long-term relief. After learning about the TruDenta system (www.drsdoctor.com, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.), I incorporated this complete assessment and therapeutic technology into my practice (Fig. 2). The TruDenta system reflects an understanding and application of current research attributing dental force imbalances to muscle dysfunction in the head and neck area. Digital assessment technologies combine with treatment modalities proven in sports medicine and physical therapy, as well as specialized education. Using TruDenta, dentists can restore patients to proper dental force balance, eliminate recurring pain, and provide desperately needed care.
After integrating TruDenta into my practice and marketing this treatment, I found many patients with similar stories, all suffering from ongoing pain, beginning to believe they were beyond help, and having exhausted nearly every available resource to find a solution. They sought treatment for chronic pain, not necessarily a dentist or dental treatment. Once my team and I began treatment, we found that within a 10- to 12-week period, our patients experienced life-changing relief, and the system proved successful.
Fig. 2: At right, the complete TruDenta digital assessment and therapeutic system. Photos/Provided by Dr. Robert Harrell and TruDenta.
￼We’ve experienced professional growth, and I’ve expanded my practice in previously unimaginable ways, all by assessing and treating dental force related conditions and their symptoms, including headache/migraine pain. We’ve gained personal satisfaction by making a difference in people's lives, and my practice has witnessed increased financial growth. I truly believe dental headache care, and a headache clinic within a practice, is a model for success that my dental colleagues may want to consider. Treating patients with TruDenta is straightforward. Through the training and education process, which includes on-site hands-on instruction and four to six weeks of distance courses, my auxiliary team and I found ourselves fully prepared to offer TruDenta treatment to our patients.
A year ago, I decided to open a separate headache care clinic within my practice. A goal was building awareness, so we used the marketing resources provided by TruDenta to initiate a marketing campaign. We targeted individuals seeking a solution for their pain who remained in the dark about this option. Building upon this awareness, we applied sound marketing strategies, such as proactive and free public relations, which resulted in news coverage on Fox News and articles in local newspapers and magazines. Currently, we’re examining social media as another vital publicity outlet.
The results have been well worth the effort. The clinic is flourishing, and within recent weeks, we’ve had just shy of 100 patients wait for TruDenta treatment scheduling. We don’t want to turn anyone away and are focusing efforts on hiring additional staff to accommodate the influx of patients in need of care. We also want to help potential patients burdened with financial constraints by examining every insurance and assistance program available to make treatment possible.
It is an extraordinarily satisfying experience to provide someone with a solution that takes away their pain. From an economic standpoint, providing TruDenta care taps into a new market of clients directly benefiting from your services, which helps ensure increased revenue during economically unstable times. I humbly believe dental headache care, a clinic within a practice and the TruDenta system represent an amazing opportunity for dentists to help individuals reclaim power over their health and lives. In their eyes, this makes you a hero.
1. National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. www.nider.nih.gov/Data Statistics/ByPopulation/Adults/.
2. National Headache Foundation. www.headaches.org/education/Headache_Topic_Sheets/ Migraine. Accessed July 3, 2012.
3. Headache. US News and World Report. 2006. www.health.usnews.com/health -conditions/ brain-health/headache. Accessed July 3.
Robert L. Harrell, DDS, is a general dentist with a practice in Charlotte, N.C. His practice focuses on treating advanced restorative cases, TMJ/TMD and cosmetic dentistry.
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