The results of a recent study published by the American Dental Association showed that one in six patients who went to a general dentist last year had orofacial pain – pain in the face and/or mouth. So, what was really interesting about these results? Patients in the study reported pain in the muscles and temporomandibular joint as frequently as pain in the teeth and surrounding tissue.1
Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD) are estimated to affect between 5% and 12% of the adult population, and are at least twice as common in women compared with men.2 Remarkably, the rates of TMD are higher in young people. For example, a study of children six to eight years of age showed 35% had at least one clinical sign of TMD.3 In a study of adolescents, 25% were diagnosed with painful TMD.4
Also of interest, there is an established link between TMD and sleep-related breathing disorders, such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). In one study, patients with two or more of the classic signs and/or symptoms of OSA (e.g., loud snoring, daytime sleepiness, witnessed apnea, and hypertension) were 73% more likely to develop TMD.5
Why are the results of these research studies important to you? The bottom line is that patients with TMD often have OSA, and vice versa. If your dentist, doctor, chiropractor, or physiotherapist is treating you for one of these conditions, let us know so that we can determine if you need to be evaluated for the other. Because you see your dentist on a regular basis, they are the first in line to evaluate, refer, and possibly manage these issues.
- Horst OV, Cunha-Cruz J, Zhou L, Manning W, Mancl L, DeRouen TA. Prevalence of pain in the orofacial regions in patients visiting general dentists in the Northwest Practice-based REsearch Collaborative in Evidence-based DENTistry research network. J Am Dent Assoc 2015;146:721-8 e3.
- Prevalence of TMJD and its signs and symptoms. (Accessed at https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/DataStatistics/FindDataByTopic/FacialPain/PrevalenceTMJD.htm.)
- Vierola A, Suominen AL, Ikavalko T, et al. Clinical signs of temporomandibular disorders and various pain conditions among children 6 to 8 years of age: the PANIC study. J Orofac Pain 2012;26:17-25.
- Franco AL, Fernandes G, Goncalves DA, Bonafe FS, Camparis CM. Headache associated with temporomandibular disorders among young Brazilian adolescents. Clin J Pain 2014;30:340-5.
- Sanders AE, Essick GK, Fillingim R, et al. Sleep apnea symptoms and risk of temporomandibular disorder: OPPERA cohort. J Dent Res 2013;92:70S-77S.
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