Relief from clenching and grinding is in sight!

Good news for all of you who suffer from jaw joint pain, or the symptoms of clenching and grinding- we are now able to offer a new treatment!


The jaw joint is often referred to as the Temporomandibular joint or (TMJ for short) and problems related to its dysfunctids00355_im00012_mcdc7_tmj_jpgon can cause all sorts of issues, from headaches and pain in the joint to clenching and grinding, in turn leading to tooth wear and even fractured and chipped teeth.

Traditionally we have prescribed bite guards to deal with the symptoms of the clenching and grinding, but now, as the part of a more wide ranging approach in the treatment of temporomandibular jaw joint disorders, we are able to offer the Cerezen treatment.


The Cerezen device is a small custom-fitted insert (constructed from the same material used in hearing aids) that is designed to be worn in the ear canal. It works by making you aware of when you are clenching and/or grinding.  It does this because the device is designed to be in alignment with your ear canal when your jaw is Cerezen-1-TMJ_Devicesslightly open.  If you were to clench or grind your teeth, the Cerezen device will make you aware of it because it will feel out of alignment, it doesn’t hurt it just makes you think, they call it “cognitive awareness”.  It doesn’t actually interact with your joint, stop it functioning or affect it in anyway negatively.


Clinical trials of the device have shown that patients report a significant reduction in pain associated with TMJ disorder.  We also have our own direct experience of the Cerezen device here as Michelle our therapist has been using it for the last 12 months and has found that it completely removed her TMJ related pain, and alleviated the  symptoms of her clenching and grinding.  We are really excited about the potential of this device to help alleviate the many different symptoms of TMJ dysfunction, something we are increasingly seeing in our patients.

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The benefits of the Cerezen device over a bite guard are considerable, but most importantly you can wear the device 24 hours a day 7 days a week (there may be a short period of adjustment for the ear prior to being able to wear them all the time) without any loss of functionality.  Since lots of patients are experiencing the symptoms of  TMJ dysfunction (including grinding and clenching), during the day this is significant as wearing bite guards during the day is impossible for some jobs and inconvenient in most other cases. Cerezen extends the period of relief from the symptoms to all day.  It does not interfere with eating, drinking, hearing or talking, and it is not really visible at all unless you were looking for it.


There is no doubt that Cerezen is a really exciting development but there is even more good news for the suffers of TMJ dysfunction, Cerezen will be just part of the co-ordinated approach to the management of this increasingly common condition, lookout soon of news on Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy, something Michelle has recently been to the Coulson Institute of Orofacial Myology in Denver,  to study. Her initial results are proving to be extremely encouraging so far, and we will keep you up to date in the coming months!



Ventilation heralds the start of the second surgery!

Its taken a long time to get here but we are finally on the verge of beginning the work on the second surgery.  That first stage is to install some form of ventilation into the room, it having no windows.  This part of the process itself has taken a long time since we have a limited space and we wanted to  make sure that the ventilation unit we used was as environmentally friendly  that we could make it within the confines of the space limitations, this means that the unit has heat recovery which reduces energy but increases the size of it.

After working through different designs and proposal we have finally got a start date for the work, its not until the very beginning of march but it is all planned in and we can begin the next phase of work, which is the dental chair and the the cabinets.

Its an exciting time for us and hopefully will enable us to be able to offer both hygienist appointments and dental appointments on the same day as well as additional treatments such as TMJ massage amongst others.

The only downside is that I loose my dark room to lie in when it all gets too much…

So how do you know if your dentists is properly cleaning instruments?

You may have seen the recent news story about a dentist in Nottingham who is under investigation for poor infection control practices. When I read this story it got me thinking how would you as a patient know if your dentist is following good infection control practices?  There are a couple of things that you could do to find out!

  • Firstly speak to your dentist, or anyone in the dental team for that matter – we don’t bite!  They will be able to tell you what the practice does to guard against the risk of cross infection (the transfer of infection from one patient to another), ask to see the infection control policy, most dental practices will take pride in their infection control measures, I know we do, and will be happy to explain how it all works.

  • Ask to see where the decontamination is done, all dental practice should have a means of sterilising reusable instruments, probably an autoclave, which kills all the nasties, and there should be a strict work flow from unsterile instruments to sterilised ones, so that the two cannot come into contact.  Once the instruments have been sterilised, they should be bagged to keep them sterile.

  • A practice should keep records for two years to show that each time the steriliser has been used it reached the correct temperature and pressure to kill the bugs.  Its also gets independently validated each year and serviced twice a year.  At the Natural Smile we also have a washer-disinfector which is a best practice recommendation in the fight against cross infection.

  • Your dentists, hygienist and nurse should be wearing facemasks, gloves, and clinical uniform.  Gloves and masks are disposable and should be changed between patients; hands should be washed between patients.  The surgery and chair should be wiped down before each patient using disinfectant, and disposable covers are placed on all difficult to clean areas in the surgery, like the light handle, the computer keyboard.

  • Check your dentist has passed its most recent inspection from the CQC, you can do that from the CQC website or as in our case here we have included a link to the report on our website.  This will tell you of any concerns spotted at the last inspection.

  • All of the clinical waste (anything that has touched a patient) has to be disposed of properly, through a licensed carrier of hazardous waste.

There are many more things that we do behind the scenes, to ensure your safety in this respect, but these are things that you look for yourself, to put your mind at ease.

Bob Seymour November 2014

Bob Is the practice manager at the Natural Smile Dental practice. you can also  pick up more tips on the Natural Smile’ facebook page.