The stability of the jaw is based on a tripod consisting of two TemporoMandibular Joints and the occlusion. Typical treatment of these disorders utilize intramural orthotics that make occlusal changes. These changes can affect all of the nerves and muscles of the head and neck directly and can affect the entire body indirectly.
If you consider the jaws like a three legged stool the one leg is occlusion but the other two are the TMJ’s or jaw joints. The TMJ NextGeneration™ Device is a medical device that treats the TM joint at its nearest access point – the ear canal.
It consists of two custom-made, hollow ear canal inserts that fit in the ear canals. Because they are hollow, the inserts permit full passage of sound. These devices are larger than the ear canal and displace the tissue in the front of the ear canal forward. This will effect the retrodiscal lamina in the posterior region of the TMJoint.
This will also have an effect on the occlusion. These devices can be worn alone or be used in conjunction with an intra-oral orthotic. They have the effect of changing the position of the condyle slightly. The posterior ligament is often displaced anteriorly in patients with TMJ internal derangements.
The exact mechanism of treatment is not understood well. It may be due to proprioceptive changes or displacement of structures. Regardless of the mechanism they have been shown to be effective for some people in reducing or eliminating TMJ pain.
The utilization of a physiologic diagnostic orthotic is the first step toward definitive treatment but the TMJ Next Generation inserts represent a new frontier and tool in treating TMJ disorders.
Dr Costen, an otolaryngologist in St Louis was the first to describe TMJ disorders. The majority of patients were denture patients who were severely over closed. In much of medical literature TMJ disorders are called Costen’s Syndrome.
When in place, the devices rest in the outer part of the ear canal and have small retraction posts that allow for easy removal. The device is easy for the patient to insert and remove. When inserted in the ear it is practically invisible from the outside.