Treatment of temporomandibular disorders among adolescents: a comparison between occlusal appliance, relaxation training, and brief information

Kerstin Wahlund, Thomas List, Bo Larsson
Acta Odontologica Scandinavica 2003, 61 (4): 203-11
In a randomized trial the effects of occlusal appliance and relaxation therapy, each combined with brief information, were compared with brief information only, in adolescents with temporomandibular disorder (TMD) pain. One-hundred-and-twenty-two adolescents (93 F and 29 M aged 12-18 years) were randomly assigned to one of the following 3 groups: brief information + occlusal appliance (BI + OA), brief information + relaxation therapy (BI + RT), or brief information (BI). Included were subjects reporting pain once a week or more often, in addition to receiving a diagnosis of TMD according to the Research Diagnostic Criteria (RDC/TMD). They were evaluated before and after treatment and at a 6-month follow-up by means of self-reports and clinical assessment. The result revealed a significantly higher reduction in frequency of pain, in pain intensity (visual analog scale [VAS]), and in a composite pain index (intensity x frequency) for patients treated with BI + OA compared with those treated with BI alone. In the BI + OA group, 60% of the patients attained a clinically significant improvement (at least 50% or more) on the pain index, a significantly higher proportion compared to that obtained in the other 2 treatment groups. Analgesic consumption was also significantly more reduced in the BI + OA group compared to the BI group. However, no significant differences were found between the treatment groups in jaw opening or in muscle and TMJ tenderness scores. Occlusal appliance was found to be superior to both relaxation therapy and brief information regarding pain reduction and can therefore be recommended when treating adolescents with TMD pain.

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