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GMS Health Technol Assess. 2010 Apr 27;6:Doc06. doi: 10.3205/hta000084.

Dental indications for the instrumental functional analysis in additional consideration of health-economic aspects.

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  • 1Institute for Social Medicine, Epidemiology and Health Economics, Charité - Universitätsmedizin, Berlin, Germany.



Besides clinical and radiological examination instrumental functional analyses are performed as diagnostic procedures for craniomandibular dysfunctions. Instrumental functional analyses cause substantial costs and shows a considerable variability between individual dentist practices.


On the basis of published scientific evidence the validity of the instrumental functional analysis for the diagnosis of craniomandibular dysfunctions compared to clinical diagnostic procedures; the difference of the various forms of the instrumental functional analysis; the existence of a dependency on additional other factors and the need for further research are determined in this report. In addition, the cost effectiveness of the instrumental functional analysis is analysed in a health-policy context, and social, legal and ethical aspects are considered.


A literature search is performed in over 27 databases and by hand. Relevant companies and institutions are contacted concerning unpublished studies. The inclusion criteria for publications are (i) diagnostic studies with the indication "craniomandibular malfunction", (ii) a comparison between clinical and instrumental functional analysis, (iii) publications since 1990, (iv) publications in English or German. The identified literature is evaluated by two scientists regarding the relevance of content and methodical quality.


The systematic database search resulted in 962 hits. 187 medical and economic complete publications are evaluated. Since the evaluated studies are not relevant enough to answer the medical or health economic questions no study is included.


The inconsistent terminology concerning craniomandibular dysfunctions and instrumental functional analyses results in a broad literature search in databases and an extensive search by hand. Since no relevant results concerning the validity of the instrumental functional analysis in comparison to the clinical functional analysis are found, it is impossible to make relevant statements concerning the underlying research questions.


Studies comparing the instrumental functional analysis to the clinical functional analysis for the diagnosis of craniomandibular dysfunctions are missing. So far the instrumental functional analysis is not systematically and independently validated in comparison to the clinical functional analysis as the reference standard. It is uncertain, whether conducting an instrumental functional analysis with a clinical functional analysis for the diagnostics of craniomandibular dysfunctions is recommendable. Further research is strongly recommended.


clinical functional analysis; cost-effectiveness; craniomandibular dysfunction; dentistry; dentofacial; diagnosis; functional analysis; health economics; instrumental functional analysis; instruments; jawborne; mandibular joint; mouth; odontology; oral medicine; orthodontics

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