Comparison of Habit Reversal and a Behaviorally-Modified Dental Treatment for Temporomandibular Disorders: A Pilot Investigation

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Applied Psychophysiology Biofeedback


This study tested the hypothesis that a habit reversal program emphasizing awareness and reduction of masticatory muscle activity would significantly reduce pain in patients diagnosed with chronic temporomandibular disorder (TMD) and would be a competitive alternative to a behaviorally-modified dental intervention. Eight individuals diagnosed with TMD were randomly assigned to a splint therapy or habit reversal group. Patients in the splint group received an interocclusal appliance (splint) fabricated from acrylic and were instructed to wear the splint day and night up to a maximum of 20 h per day. Patients in the habit reversal group were given a pager and instructed to check tooth position and masticatory muscle tension when paged. Paging occurred approximately once every 2 h during the day, but not at night. Both groups were instructed to avoid tooth contact and relax the masticatory muscles during the 4 weeks of active treatment. Outcome data were collected at 1 month and 1 year post-treatment intervals. Pain decreased significantly for both groups and did not differ between groups. Habit reversal may be as effective as a behaviorally-modified splint therapy for TMD-related pain.



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Habit reversal, Pain, Splints, Temporomandibular disorders, Treatment