Tooth Contact in Patients with Temporomandibular Disorders

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CRANIO: The Journal of Craniomandibular & Sleep Practice


Both experimental and retrospective studies suggest a link between parafunctions and pain in temporomandibular disorder (TMD) patients. To investigate the role of parafunctions in TMD, experience sampling methodology was used as a prospective test of the hypothesis that patients with TMD have higher levels of tooth contact and tension than non-TMD controls. Three groups of TMD patients and a group of normal controls carried pagers for one week, were contacted approximately every two hours by an automated calling system, and completed questionnaires assessing tooth contact, tension, and pain at each contact. Results showed that tooth contact was much more frequent among normal controls than is commonly presumed. Patients with myofascial pain with/without arthralgia reported more frequent contact, higher intensity contact, and more tension than patients with disk displacement or normal controls. Increased masticatory muscle activity responsible for tooth contact and tension may be an important mechanism in the etiology and maintenance of the myofascial pain and arthralgia of TMD.



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