Custom Ear Plugs to Decrease Clenching

A survey cited below conducted in December 2015 amongst dental professionals about their success treating temporomandibular joint disorder found a concerning 80% of respondents said that they have patients suffering from TMJD whom they are unable to help.

Faced with an intractable problem where the primary solution until now has been bite splints, which have notoriously poor patient compliance levels, some forward thinking dentists have been quick to see the potential offered by an innovative new device – known as Cerezen Ear Plugs.  The inserts or devices are inserted into the auditory canal and are clinically proven to reduce the symptoms of temporo-mandibular joint disorders (TMJD), including facial pain, bruxism and associated headaches.

The idea behind the custom inserts is to do with the ear canal lying right behind the TMJ. 

When you grind or clench your back teeth, it exerts pressure on this joint, causing the ear canal to contract slightly (which might explain why some people have earache as a result).

This in turn is meant to put pressure on the ear inserts — not enough to cause discomfort, but to encourage the jaw to relax, by a process that the Cerezen website describes, rather bafflingly, as ‘para-cognitive awareness’.

The pioneering Cerezen device is comprised of two custom-made hollow inserts which are worn in the auditory canals and allow the full passage of sound. The devices are worn day and night (apart from swimming and showering and contact sports) and are barely visible as they are worn deep in the ears. The whole process only takes up to 30 minutes of chair time from start to finish- This includes taking the ear impressions – a responsibility which lies with an audiologist organised for the dentist by Renew Health which manufactures and distributes Cerezen in the UK and Ireland. Within two weeks of completion of ear impressions, the patient’s tailor-made devices are returned to the dental practice for fitting by the patient under the supervision and instruction of the dentist.

Patients wearing the device in a three month clinical study experienced a significant reduction in the pain and dysfunction associated with TMJD. In addition to the pain reduction, 100% of subjects indicated excellent (71%) or good (29%) overall satisfaction with the device.

1 Survey conducted on behalf of Renew Health, December 2015

‘It’s the physical stimulus of having the device in the ear canal so close to the jaw joint, which breaks the tension cycle of clenching,’ says Dr Christou