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Funct Orthod. 1997 Aug-Oct;14(4):17-20, 22.

Etiological factors and temporomandibular treatment outcomes: the effects of trauma and psychological dysfunction.


This paper examines the effect of trauma and psychological dysfunction as etiological factors in temporomandibular disorder (TMD). It employs a thoroughly validated measurement system, the TMJ Scale, to determine the effects of traumatic temporomandibular joint injury as well as pre-treatment stress and psychological dysfunction levels upon presenting symptom levels. It also addresses these parameters for the eventual treatment outcome. During the course of the study, 754 patients were evaluated at the author's practice, which is limited to the diagnosis and Phase I treatment of temporomandibular dysfunction. Of those individuals, 693 (91.9%) were found to have clinically treatable temporomandibular disorders. At the time of this study, 201 consecutive patients (29%) have completed treatment and were deemed to have reached Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI). The validated measurement system of the TMJ Scale was readministered to this post treatment population. Data analysis revealed that trauma patients did not differ from non-trauma patients in initial symptom levels, nor in levels of symptom improvement (with the exception of a higher palpation pain level reported by the trauma patients). Stress and psychological dysfunction were predictive of higher initial symptom perception levels, but were not significantly related to treatment outcomes. These findings have important implications for practitioners in the field of temporomandibular studies. If it can be confirmed that psychological variables have no impact on treatment outcome, it would be difficult to justify the now frequently employed "dual axis" classifications and major emphasis placed on psychological treatment for temporomandibular patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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