At one point or another, we all have to sit still in the dentist’s chair for longer than we would like.
With all sorts of foreign tools working on your teeth and gums, it can cause a lot of stress and discomfort to your jaw while your mouth is open wide enough for the dentist to complete the procedure. Dr. Huff recalls a period of time when he worked as a chair-side dental assistant for an oral surgeon, and he and other staff members were required to manually support the patients’ chins and jaws throughout long procedures. Afterward, many patients would complain of bruising and pain
TMD and the Side Effects
Despite the invention of different jaw supports, many patients still complain of jaw pain and soreness after withstanding lengthy dental procedures. Temporomandibular Disorder, also known as TMD, occurs when your jaw joint, your upper and lower teeth, and your facial muscles that control jaw movement and chewing don’t fit together as they should. TMD can also be caused by an injury to the jaw. In fact, sometimes jaw pain can result from a patient’s mouth being open for too long or with too much force while they were at the dentist’s office for surgical procedures like extractions. Symptoms of TMD include clicking or popping noises in the jaw when opening or closing the mouth, difficulty chewing, facial swelling, a tendency for the jaw to lock, and headaches, among other things.
The Restful Jaw ®
Throughout Dr. Huff’s practice, trying to ensure the comfort of his patients has always been an important consideration during his procedures. Traditionally, when surgical procedures like extractions and gum surgery are performed on the lower jaw, an assistant must stabilize the jaw so that it is not distended by necessary forces applied for the surgical procedure. Unfortunately, this method causes many negative consequences like longer appointment times to allow frequent breaks, patient discomfort, and muscle fatigue; it also requires an assistant to be focused on stabilizing the patient’s jaw throughout the procedure rather than being free to assist the doctor with the procedure itself.
A couple of years ago, Dr. Huff discovered a useful device developed by a TMD expert at the University of Minnesota that has proven to enhance patient comfort during procedures that last longer than 15 minutes. This device is called The Restful Jaw ®. Essentially, The Restful Jaw sits upon the patient’s chest like a harness, and an attached chin pillow is adjusted to fit the patient’s chin in order to achieve the most relief. Dr. Huff reports that the entire set up takes less than 45 seconds, and combined with his other methods, he is able to complete his appointments with ease faster than he did prior to using this device. One satisfied patient said to Dr. Huff that it “feels like the jaw is sitting on a couch.”
Dr. Huff is always keeping the well-being of his patients in mind, and this dedication is what prompts Dr. Huff to find new ways to enhance patients’ experiences while they are visiting him. If you want to read about Dr. Huff’s experience with The Restful Jaw® in more detail, you can find his published article here.