Orofacial Therapeutics: Creating Evidence-based Solutions for Orofacial Pain
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It is estimated that a minimum of 3 million patients with chronic orofacial pain will seek care for their problem this year. An estimated 5% to 7% of the population suffer from jaw pain, and an estimated 10% to 20% from headache disorders. Orofacial Therapeutics, a leader in the field of orofacial pain, has recently introduced a first-of-its-kind treatment for acute craniofacial injuries designed to prevent these types of injuries from turning into chronic pain conditions.
The Speed2Treat™ Home Healing Kit for Head, Neck & Jaw Injury has everything needed to initiate 4 weeks of patient acute self-care. The Speed2Treat™ Home Healing Kit for Head, Neck & Jaw Injury is designed for broad availability across patient populations and healthcare professions including urgent care, pharmacy-based providers, allied health providers, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, physical therapists, and doctors. Based on a simple orthopedic model of care suggested for the first 2 to 4 weeks following injury (similar to rest, ice, analgesic and elastic bandage for an ankle sprain) the treatment algorithm does not require providers to have expertise in the management of jaw-related injury but provides critical early intervention to help reduce pain amplification, central nervous system activation, and compensating musculoskeletal behaviors that can lead to chronic pain.
The implications of the Speed2Treat™ Home Healing Kit could be massive, saving millions of dollars in healthcare costs, reducing patient suffering, while implementing care quickly, affordably, and responsibly. The kit can be delivered before the patient has access to a specialist and it is complementary with other measures such as medication or a rehabilitation program. Patient progress can be monitored via telehealth.
Included in the kit are multiple components that a person can use with ease, including the QuickSplint® temporary overnight appliance, hot/cold therapy packs, patient self care instructions, and online resources including pain education, prescribed exercises, breath training, and calming virtual reality experiences linked with a smartphone. The kit is easy for any provider to deliver care and easy for the patient to embrace and understand. The kit is appropriate for:
• Acute jaw joint and muscle sprain/ strain (JAMSS) from opening the mouth too wide or for too long a time, such as during dental visits, yawning, biting an apple, and surgical intubation
• Mild cases of trauma involving the jaw, head and neck, such as whiplash or sports-related concussions
• A blow to the jaw or injury to the chin
• Tension headaches from jaw clenching, muscle tension, strain, and stress
• Flare-ups of existing jaw or neck pain conditions.
Brad Eli, DMD, MS and James Fricton, DDS, MS developed the Speed2Treat™ Home Healing Kit drawing on their extensive advanced training in orofacial pain, research, and clinical expertise.
Treatment is designed to encourage faster healing and, thus, prevent the neurological process of peripheral and central sensitization in response to unremitting pain. This will minimize reliance on medication and minimize disability in use of the jaw during eating, talking, sleeping and daily life activity. Research has shown that goal-based “directed” self-care using small and realistic accomplishments that can be achieved over time when coupled with the start of treatment, creates an immediate validation of a patient’s concern and creates successful momentum for prompt return to health.
“With an injury to the jaw, prompt action that encourages healing is the key to fast recovery and prevention of persistent chronic pain. Mounting evidence shows how important early intervention is. Up to half of all jaw injuries left unaddressed will progress to chronic or intractable pain,” said Fricton, “We are committed to assisting patients and providers alike in a more consistent, conservative and rapid response resulting in potential improvement to prevent chronic pain and opioid use.”
A New Dawn for a New Specialty
Whether it is headache, temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD), neck pain, trigeminal neuralgia, burning mouth syndrome, persistent tooth pain, or any number of other orofacial pain conditions, an estimated 120 million patients in the US often do not know where to turn for help.
Part of the reason for the confusion in care is that Orofacial Pain has only recently been recognized as a specialty even though post-graduate training has existed for 30 years.
Leaders in Orofacial Pain
James Fricton, DDS, MS, Professor Emeritus of the University of Minnesota Schools of Dentistry, Medicine, and Public Health, is one of the world’s foremost leaders in the field of orofacial pain and played an integral role in helping establish the new Orofacial Pain specialty. He established one of the first University-based multidisciplinary TMD and Orofacial Pain Clinics and helped define the Curriculum for Orofacial Pain specialty training programs to train the orofacial pain doctors of tomorrow. He has authored more than 200 publications, five books, and spearheaded millions of dollars of research on relieving and preventing chronic TMD and orofacial pain conditions for the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIH/NIDCR).
Fricton also focused on improving access to evidence-based care for people with orofacial pain conditions by passing the first legislation in the country that required TMD and orofacial pain conditions to be covered under medical insurance regardless of whether care was provided by physicians or dentists. This coverage is now present in every state.
Dr. Brad Eli collaborated with Dr. Fricton through his work at UCLA. Eli graduated in 1992 from the first Orofacial Pain and Dysfunction postgraduate residency program at UCLA School of Dentistry. A helicopter pilot at age 15, dental school graduating class president at Temple University, and walking encyclopedia, Eli Is a driven, gifted, and inventive problem-solver.
Understanding the Challenges Facing Orofacial Pain Patients
Dr. Eli, along with Ann McCulloch, founded Orofacial Therapeutics in 2016 and Dr. Fricton joined the team in 2017.
The company’s first product, the QuickSplint® temporary anterior bite plane, which Eli invented as a conservative, diagnostic and treatment aid for jaw pain, has gained broad acceptance in dentistry and is now used for a host of dental applications beyond what even he envisioned.
McCulloch oversees growing sales of QuickSplint® and the company’s expanding portfolio of resources and tools to aid in jaw and headache pain diagnosis and treatment. A Yale MBA and former high-powered energy industry executive, strategies for addressing her own chronic pain issues helped Ann understand the needs and challenges of patients suffering from orofacial pain. Each career relocation caused her to search for new treatment providers. Her search for relief yielded a myriad of diagnoses and treatment modalities including a dental treatment to reposition her jaw that was not beneficial. When she met Dr. Eli, who asked for help, a short-term project morphed into a new career focused on patient and provider education about orofacial pain, and marketing cost-effective products to benefit patients.
Leveraging Technology to Connect and Care
Together with technology partner Talentship LLC in Wayzata, MN, Orofacial Therapeutics created FaceMyPain.com, which is a multi-specialty provider directory. FaceMyPain.com is a resource for patients and providers to find orofacial pain specialists, neurologists, osteopaths, chiropractors, physical therapists, and dentists who specialize in treating orofacial pain, headache and TMJ disorders. FaceMyPain.com features an advanced search engine that helps a user search by medical condition, treatments offered, type of practice and location and it is designed to facilitate coordination of care between provider types.
Growing Team, Bright Future
During the creation of its Speed2Treat™ product, the company partners attended a presentation by Jim Elliott, PT, PhD, FAPTA titled, “Assessment, Prediction and Management of Patient with Head/Neck Disorder PostWhiplash.” The partners shared their vision with Elliott and asked him to join the team and bring his extensive knowledge and physical therapy experience to bear on its products.
Elliott played professional baseball for the San Diego Padres and worked in major league baseball before becoming a trailblazer in physical therapy. He completed his PhD at the University of Queensland in 2007 and a post-doctoral fellowship in 2010. He has overseen large multidisciplinary studies investigating the neurobiological mechanism of persistent spinal pain associated with head/ neck trauma with special emphasis on whiplash injury. He is currently a Professor in the Faculty of Medicine and Health at the University of Sydney and serves as an adjunct professor and principal investigator for the Neuromuscular Imaging Research Laboratory at Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, Chicago.
Looking ahead, this team of highly qualified and highly motivated professionals has big plans for the future. Orofacial Therapeutics is developing new products to introduce for both providers and direct-to-consumer that utilize virtual reality and pain tracking technology to amplify their ability to reach patients, expand access, and deliver cost-effective products to benefit orofacial pain patients.
Management James Fricton, DDS, MS, Partner and Bradley Eli, DMD, MS, Founder & Chief Technical Officer and Jim Elliot, PT, PHD, FAPT, Principal
Description Orofacial Therapeutics collaborates with dental and medical professionals, educators and associations, and healthcare providers and insurers to deliver diagnostic aides, treatment protocols, and recovery solutions for facial, head, neck, and jaw pain. Orofacial Therapeutics, a leader in the field of orofacial pain, has recently introduced a first-of-its kind treatment for acute craniofacial injuries designed to prevent these types of injuries from turning into chronic pain conditions. The Speed2Treat™ Home Healing Kit for Head, Neck & Jaw Injury has everything needed to initiate 4 weeks of patient acute self-care.
The Speed2Treat™ Home Healing Kit for Head, Neck & Jaw Injury is designed for broad availability across patient populations and healthcare professions including urgent care, pharmacy-based providers, allied health providers, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, physical therapists, and doctors
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