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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.

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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.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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    Only 18.5% of Americans never floss. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Floss removes food trapped between the teeth and removes the film of bacteria that forms there before it turns to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Try flossing just one tooth to get started.

    You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for 3 more days!

    You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily, but you're well on your way to making a positive impact on your teeth and gums. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for all 7 days!

    Only 50.5% of Americans floss daily, and good for you that you are one of them! Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Congratulations on your good oral health habit!

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    American Dental Association, Healthy People 2010

    This tool is intended only for adults 18 and older.

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