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TMJ Treatment with TENS

Dr.-B.-Lipovetskiy (1)

The author of the article

Boris Lipovetskiy, DMD, 31 years experience

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Have you been experiencing regular headaches, jaw clicking, and teeth grinding? Wondering how to resolve these issues quickly and painlessly? These symptoms could indicate a TMJ disorder.

In this article, we’ll answer the following questions:

  • What is TENS and when is it necessary?
  • Can TENS reduce TMJ pain?
  • What are the benefits of TENS in dental treatment?

What is TENS?

TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) is a treatment method that targets muscles and nerves. A specialized device delivers electrical impulses through electrodes placed in the jaw, neck, and shoulder area. The device helps alleviate pain and discomfort associated with temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD).

How does TENS Therapy help with jaw pain?

During microcurrent therapy, low-frequency microcurrents impact the muscles and circulatory system. Venous blood is drained, followed by an influx of oxygenated blood, enhancing metabolism. Muscles relax, becoming more elastic, and spasms subside. The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) takes the correct position, and the muscles do not return to their spasmodic state.

A therapy session typically lasts from 15 minutes to an hour and consists of several stages:

  1. The patient assumes a comfortable position.
  2. The doctor places electrodes on the lower jaw.
  3. The device is adjusted to the required power.
  4. Every 2-4 seconds, the patient experiences a mild tingling sensation.
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation
When will I feel the results of TENS?

Electrical nerve stimulation is a comprehensive procedure, and visible results typically require a minimum of 3-4 sessions. Pain and other symptoms of temporomandibular joint dysfunction can begin to diminish after just a few sessions. However, a full course of therapy may require more procedures. The treatment plan and the number of visits are individually tailored by the doctor for each patient.

When is TENS Therapy effective?

TENS therapy can alleviate symptoms of temporomandibular joint dysfunction, including:

  • Pain when closing the jaw or chewing.
  • Bite irregularities.
  • Increased tension in facial muscles, speech disturbances.
  • Regular headaches.
  • Nighttime teeth grinding (bruxism).
  • Posture problems while walking.
  • Limited jaw movement during chewing.
  • Rapid enamel wear.
  • Neck and shoulder pain.

Benefits of TENS Therapy for TMJ disorders

1 It reduces the need for medication

TENS can reduce the need for pain relievers in cases of jaw pain.

2 The therapy is painless

The doctor customizes the device's power individually, and the patient feels nothing more than a slight tingling sensation.

3 Relieves muscle spasms and pain

Muscles return to their natural position, become more elastic, regain their normal length, and spasms, tension, and pain subside. It improves blood flow to the treated area, aiding in healing and reducing inflammation.

4 Helps prepare for prosthetics

Quality prosthetics or orthodontic corrections cannot be achieved if the jaw is overloaded, and the joint is functioning improperly.

Can TENS Therapy completely cure TMJ disorder?

Simply put - No. Treatment with TENS cannot completely resolve TMJ/TMD issues. To treat TMJ, it is necessary to identify all the causes. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation is a part of the treatment regimen.

Treatment with TENS alleviates symptoms until the underlying problem is resolved. It does not correct jaw structure abnormalities, an improper bite, or jaw joint disorders.

Dr. B. Lipovetskiy

Doctor's Opinion

Dentist with 30 years of experience

Treating TMJ disorders requires a comprehensive approach

My goal is to alleviate jaw pain symptoms, improve joint function, and correct the bite. To achieve this, we offer bite correction with Invisalign aligners in dental office. In some cases, medication or surgical intervention may be necessary. If you are experiencing initial symptoms of jaw pain, please consult a dentist without delay!

When is TENS Therapy not recommended?

In the following instances, we do not recommend treatment using TENS:

  • The skin in the electrode application area is inflamed.
  • The patient has epilepsy.
  • There are psychiatric conditions.
  • Cardiovascular diseases are present.
  • The patient has a history of cancer.
  • During pregnancy.

To identify possible contraindications, the doctor conducts an interview. It's important for the patient to be honest and openly disclose all their medical conditions.


Yes, this therapy is entirely safe for treating jaw-related issues when following the doctor's recommendations and excluding contraindications.