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New Report on Temporomandibular Disorders: Priorities for Research and Care

Over a year and half ago, the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) began the most comprehensive study ever undertaken on Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD). The study assessed the current state of TMD research, education and training, the safety and efficacy of clinical treatments, and associated burden and costs.

Statement by NIDCR Acting Director on the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Report on Temporomandibular Joint Disorders

I am pleased to announce the release of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) report, Temporomandibular Disorders: Priorities for Research and Care. As underscored by the comprehensive report, temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJDs) are a diverse and still poorly understood set of complex, painful conditions affecting the jaw muscles and tissues, temporomandibular joints, and associated nerves. Clearly, there is much more to be understood, and these conditions continue to confound medical and dental health care providers and researchers.

Have you seen the film Dark Waters?

The Film. Dark Waters is about attorney Robert Billott's real-life 20 year legal battle against DuPont chemical for releasing toxic waste - perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA - into Parkersburg, West Virginia's water supply, with devastating health effects on the townspeople and livestock. PFOA, also known as C8, is a man-made chemical. It is used in the process of making Teflon and similar chemicals known as fluorotelomers.

Online TMD Diet Diary Research Project

Online TMD Diet Diary Research Project The TMJ Association received the following request from Professor Justin Durham and his research team at Newcastle University. We encourage TMJ patients to participate in this project as it is an under researched

Drug Induced Bruxism

The authors of this article state that orofacial movement disorders (bruxism) are treated typically by dental professionals and not by those specialists (neurologists) researching and treating the other movement disorders (Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, tremors, etc.). Again, this is more evidence of the complexity of TMD and the need for multidisciplinary research and treatment in TMD.

TMJ Disc Regeneration Study

  • Dec 26, 2013

Inductive, Scaffold-Based, Regenerative Medicine Approach to Reconstruction of the Temporomandibular Joint Disk  The TMJ disc is composed of soft cartilaginous material that acts as a shock absorber between the temporal bone of the skull and the lower jaw bone (the mandible) when the joint moves. Attempts to replace a diseased or degenerated disc by synthetic materials or tissues from other parts of a patient’s body have been unsuccessful or of only limited duration.  However, Dr. Almarza and his collaborators report encouraging results for the regeneration of the TMJ disc in an animal experiment.
 
The team used extracellular matrix (ECM) material derived from pig bladders, which was shaped to model the TMJ disc and placed it into one of the sides of the jaw of dogs who had had both TMJ discs surgically removed, leaving the other side of the jaw empty as a control.  (“Extracellular matrix” consists of materials and molecules in the ground substance surrounding various cells and organs in the body.)  The ECM implant consisted of a powdered form of ECM sandwiched between layers of the same material. The authors noted that the same source material had been used successfully in a number of other areas of the body to promote healing and regeneration.
 
For six months, the joints were allowed to heal and regenerate. During that time the animals showed no sign of discomfort or major complications. After six months, the joints were evaluated for changes and newly formed tissue was examined.  The new tissue was found to have many similarities to the normal TMJ disc in composition, structure and strength. The new tissue also protected the jaw surfaces from degeneration, compared to the empty control joints.
 
These results suggest that in the future biologic ECM tissue may be able to serve as a template for the formation of new, site-appropriate, functional TMJ disc tissue.  While the results are encouraging, other test and experiments are ongoing to show the safety and effectiveness of the ECM device as a TMJ disc replacement.

Our thanks to Dr. Alejandro J. Almarza, Assistant Professor of Oral Biology and Bioengineering at the McGowan Institute of Regenerative Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh for writing a summary of his team's research for our readers.

TMJ Disorders

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In Treating TMJ

To view or order a free booklet about TMJ Disorders, visit the National Institutes of Health website.

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