Tourette syndrome is one of many neurological disorders classified as tic disorders. In Tourette syndrome, people make sudden, involuntary motions and sounds. Tic disorders like Tourette syndrome are fairly common among children, affecting perhaps 1 in 5 schoolchildren at some point. Most are transient, but others may recur or persist into adulthood.
There is no cure for Tourette syndrome. Oral appliances can be used to help ease the burden of Tourette symptoms and improve quality of life. If you would like to learn how an oral appliance can help with your Tourette symptoms, please call or email the TMJ Treatment & Sleep Center of Colorado for an appointment.
Challenges of Tourette Symptoms
Dealing with the symptoms of Tourette Syndrome is exhausting. You may break into a sweat just from sitting in a chair, desperately trying to control your own body. The emotional wear that comes along with Tourette’s is arguably more difficult to endure, as many sufferers have problems concentrating in school, making friends, holding a job, and maintaining relationships.
Symptoms associated with Tourette Syndrome include:
- Vocal tics
- Head jerking
- Uncontrollable movement and fidgeting
- Uncontrollable facial tics
Most motor tics are simple actions, while others may be a combination of actions. Some may involve the entire body, while others involve only the face. Vocal tics are most often grunts, throat clearing, sniffing, or hooting. Less commonly, they are words, sometimes obscene.
Using an Oral Appliance to Relieve Tourette Symptoms
For treatment of Tourette symptoms, Dr. Kevin Berry fits patients with custom-made oral appliances. These appliances are designed to adjust the bite, relieving pressure in the jaw joint and certain nerve pathways, thereby stopping or diminishing tics and uncontrollable vocalizations commonly experienced by Tourette Syndrome patients.
Treatment with an oral appliance can be used independently or in support of other successful treatments, such as drug therapy with neuroleptics or cognitive behavioral therapy.
Causes of Tourette Syndrome
Tourette syndrome seems to be caused by a complex configuration of abnormalities in the brain. This includes abnormalities in certain brain regions, connections between the brain regions, and certain neurotransmitters.
Tourette syndrome seems to be genetic. Initially, it was believed that the disorder was inherited in a dominant fashion—one parent having the disorder led to children having the disorder—but it appears now that multiple genetic regions are involved, and inheritance is complicated. It is genetically associated with certain forms of attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
If you suffer from Tourette symptoms, call (303) 691-0267 or email our office in Denver to schedule an appointment.