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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.

Survey Profiles TMD Patients

  • Jan 14, 2015

TMJA Survey Results

  • The individuals affected by Temporomandibluar Joint Disorders (TMD) were on average 41 years of age and predominantly female (90%).
  • Nearly 60% of both men and women reported recent pain of moderate-to-severe intensity with a quarter of them indicating interference or termination of work-related activities.
  • In the case-control comparison, a higher frequency of headaches, allergies, depression, fatigue, degenerative arthritis, fibromyalgia, autoimmune disorders, sleep apnea, and gastrointestinal complaints were prevalent among those affected with TMD. Many of the associated comorbid conditions were over 6 times more likely to occur after TMD was diagnosed.
  • Among a wide array of treatments used (46 listed), the most effective relief for most affected individuals (91%) was the use of thermal therapies—hot/cold packs to the jaw area or hot baths.
  • Nearly 40% of individuals affected with TMD reported one or more surgical procedures and nearly all were treated with one or many different medications. Results of these treatments were generally equivocal.

How the TMJA's Survey Came About...

Since The TMJ Association began in 1986, we have been privy to TMJ experiences. We’ve heard from patients and family members here and abroad via phone, fax, mail, and email--all sharing stories of pain and problems with speaking, chewing, swallowing, and even kissing loved ones.
There were grim stories about trying to find an understanding practitioner, the cost of care, the lack of insurance and even worse—accounts of failed treatments.  You’ve shared ideas for coping and alleviating pain. Other times, you described additional health problems that seemed to develop along with the Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD).

Because of your input, the TMJA has been able to  gather a wealth of information about TMD in all their complexity. Not surprisingly, it occurred to us that there should be a way to organize this information in such a way as to provide patients, providers, and scientists with a fuller understanding of these conditions - who experiences them, and the treatments being recommended to TMJ patients and whether these treatments help them.

Thus was born the idea of a major survey to be designed, conducted, and analyzed by outside experts whose participation would lend credibility to the survey. With headquarters in Milwaukee and access to the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW), the TMJA contacted four MCW professors who rose to the challenge: Raymond Hoffman, PhD, is a biostatistician and Associate Director of Quantitative Health Sciences in MCW’s Department of Pediatrics, Jane Morley Kotchen, MD, MPH, Director and Professor in the Master in Public Health Program of the Institute for Health and Society, Theodore Kotchen, MD, Professor of Medicine and Associate dean for Clinical Research, in the Department of Medicine Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism, and Clinical Nutrition, and Allen W. Cowley, Jr., Ph.D., Director of the Cardiovascular Center & Chairman of the Department of Physiology.

Together, the team, working with TMJA, drafted an extensive questionnaire demographic information (age, sex, marital status), reproductive history, family history of TMD, age at which the symptoms first occurred and age of diagnosis, respondent’s concepts about causes of symptoms, procedures related to TMD, and selected medications. We also wanted to identify the spectrum of clinical manifestations and therapeutic strategies associated with TMD from the perspective of the affected individuals, and to compare the prevalence of comorbid conditions and symptoms in affected individuals to a comparable group of unaffected individuals similar in age and sex.

Review and approval of the survey and protocol by MCW’s Institutional Review Board (mandated to protect the rights of human subjects) took several months, but in due course the invitation to participate was electronically mailed to 10,000 TMJA registrants. A little over one-third of the registrants actually received the invitation and 43 percent responded, for a total of 1,511 respondents, 1,358 women and 153 men. Our thanks go to the survey participants and scientists who made this possible. Results of the survey were published in the Clinical Journal of Pain, Volume 27, Number 3, March/April 2011, pp. 268-274.

Dr. Jane Kotchen, a co-author of the survey presented the findings at the TMJA's Fourth Scientific Meeting. Click here to view the PowerPoint presentation.

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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National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research
Office of Research on Women's Health