CRVAW Faculty Journal Articles


Routine Dental Care in Patients with Temporomandibular Disorders


AIMS: While a significant number of therapeutic models have been suggested for management of orofacial pain and limited opening in patients experiencing temporomandibular disorders (TMD), little attention has been given to the issue of routine daily care activities, such as toothbrushing and flossing. The purpose of this study was to develop an understanding of the extent to which TMD patients experience difficulty in performing routine daily mouth care.

METHODS: Forty patients seeking care for TMD in the Orofacial Pain Center at the University of Kentucky College of Dentistry were age- and gender-matched to a group of general dentistry patients not experiencing TMD. Participants completed a survey of oral health habits, and a clinical exam.

RESULTS: Results indicated that TMD patients felt their discomfort had created more difficulty with daily mouth care as compared with the general dentistry patients (P < .000). Most TMD patients, however, continued with routine daily mouth care, except for 15% who reported an inability to floss on a regular basis. Also, a majority of TMD patients (63%) reported a change in seeking routine professional care because of their disorder (P < .000).

CONCLUSION: The present data indicate the need for TMD patients to receive information concerning routine daily mouth care and visits for professional dental care. The results are discussed in terms of the strategies that dental care providers need to develop in order to address the significant consequences of orofacial pain on regular dental care.

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2002

Notes/Citation Information

Published in Journal of Orofacial Pain, v. 16, no. 2, p. 129-134.