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National Journal of Maxillofacial Surgery
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Year : 2010  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 108-111

Outcomes of management of early temporomandibular joint disorders: How effective is nonsurgical therapy in the long-term?

1 Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Taleghani Medical Center, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
2 Trauma Research Center, Baqiyatallah University of Medical Sciences and Azad University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
3 Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Azad University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
4 Department of Prosthodontics, Azad University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
5 Department of Prosthodontics, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
6 Private Practice Dentistry, Tehran, Iran

Correspondence Address:
Mohammad Hosein Kalantar Motamedi
Africa Expressway, Golestan Street, Giti Boulevard No. 16, Tehran, 19667
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0975-5950.79210

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Aim : The first step in the management of Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD) is usually noninvasive, especially if the disorder is in the early stages. Clinically, pain and clicking are early signs and symptoms of TMD. The management of TMD usually includes "splint therapy" and analgesics. In this study, we report our long-term outcomes in the treatment of patients suffering from early TMD. Materials and Methods: We assessed the records of 138 patients who were referred for management of TMD. Selection was based on pain and/or clicking of the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ), no pathologic lesions of the TMJ, no anterior disc displacement without reduction (closed lock), no Degenerative Joint Disease, no history of migraine, trauma, osteoarthritis, metabolic disease, or malocclusion (deep bite, cross bite, jaw deformity, etc). The patients were treated with an acrylic maxillary Interocclusal Splint (IOS) cuspid-rise type and were told to refrain from biting, yawning and chewing hard food. The outcome of the treatment, potential etiologic factors (Bruxism), signs and symptoms and patient demographics (such as age, sex, treatment duration, etc.) were assessed. The data were analyzed using the Chi-square test to correlate significance. Results: One hundred thirty-eight patients (26 males and 112 females) with early signs and symptoms of TMD (pain and/or click of the TMJ) were treated from 2001 to 2010; 81% were females and 19% were males. All the 138 patients used the IOS at night only. The patients were followed-up for 1-9 years. Data analysis showed that 64% of the patients were completely relieved of signs and symptoms; 22% were moderately relieved (decreased severity of signs and symptoms) and 14% had no noticeable post-treatment changes in clicking or pain (P = 0.001). Patients with bruxism and those presenting with both pain and clicking showed a better response to IOS treatment (P = 0.046 and P = 0.001, respectively). The results also showed that age, sex, severity of symptoms and duration of the treatment did not influence treatment results in this group of patients with early TMD. Conclusion: In this population, TMD was significantly higher in females. Treatment of early TMD with IOS was effective and moderately effective in long-term in over 80% of the patients during the follow-up period of 1-9 years. Bruxism had a significant etiologic role in TMD; occlusal attrition of the dentition, pain of all the teeth, early morning pain of the masticatory muscles and the TMJ are signs and symptoms to suspect nocturnal bruxism. Use of an IOS is recommended to prevent potential damage to the dentition, periodontium and the TMJ in early TMD.

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