A recent article in an Irish newspaper is causing quite a stir here in the United States for claiming that a new form of ear insert can alleviate some of the symptoms of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. The catch: It’s from right here in America, and most people here have never heard of it. It’s a custom-fit device called Cerezen, and it sits just inside the ear canal like a hearing aid might. But instead of helping you hear, Cerezen claims to help stop bruxism (also known as teeth grinding) and alleviate pain-causing pressure on the muscles and joints affected by TMJ disorder.
“The claim behind these devices is that when the wearer clenches or grinds their teeth, the pressure is transferred to the Cerezen implants. This in turn is said to send signals to the brain to open the mouth, stopping the teeth from grinding,” says Dr. Alexandra George, a neuromuscular dentist from Wexford, Pennsylvania.
But can an inner-ear device really stop you from grinding your teeth – and does it really help with TMJ disorder symptoms? Reviews in Europe seem to say so, but despite the device being developed in the United States, very few Americans have heard of it. A quick visit to the product’s website reveals an error page with no other information about the device, and a Google search only pulls articles from Europe.
George, for her part, uses other techniques to achieve more permanent, effective results.
“With neuromuscular dentistry we are actually realigning the bite so that the problems caused by TMJ disorder, such as bruxism, are no longer an issue,” she says. “When the bite is aligned properly, you shouldn’t need to wear expensive devices like this. That’s the beauty of neuromuscular dentistry. It uses what you already have and makes it work better.”