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Eur J Pain. 2005 Dec;9(6):613-33.

Review of aetiological concepts of temporomandibular pain disorders: towards a biopsychosocial model for integration of physical disorder factors with psychological and psychosocial illness impact factors.

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Institute of Dentistry, University of Helsinki, Finland.


Several studies have reported that musculoskeletal disorders of the stomatognathic system, commonly known as temporomandibular disorders (TMD) resemble musculoskeletal disorders and chronic pain disorders in general. There is also general consensus that combined biomedical and biopsychosocial methods best support the assessment and management of the cardinal features of TMD, i.e., pain and dysfunction or physical (peripheral) and psychosocial (central) factors. This overview of the aetiology of TMD will outline conceptualizations of past models and present the current view that patients with TMD should be assessed according to both the physical disorder and the psychosocial illness impact factors. The conceptual theories outlined in this review include biomedical models related to temporomandibular joints, muscles of mastication and occlusal factors, psychological models and the biopsychosocial models. An integrated and multidimensional approach concerning physical and psychosocial factors in temporomandibular pain and dysfunction is presented as an example of how the biopsychosocial model and information processing theory may apply in the conceptualization and management of TMD for various health care professionals.

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