Exercise or splints for temporomandibular disorders


This randomised controlled trial looked at the efficacy of an occlusal splint or joint mobilization self-exercise for confirmed anterior disc displacement without reduction (ADDwoR).

Fifty-two individuals with ADDwoR were randomised to a splint or a joint mobilization self-exercise treatment group.  Four outcome variables were evaluated:

  1. maximum mouth opening range without pain
  2. maximum mouth opening range with pain
  3. current maximum daily pain intensity
  4. limitation of daily functions.

The researchers found significant improvement in all variables at eight weeks with the mouth opening range increasing more in the exercise group than in the splint group.

They concluded:

Joint mobilization self exercise is an effective treatment option for improving jaw function and reducing pain and limitations of daily activities in patients with ADDwoR.

Haketa T, Kino K, Sugisaki M, Takaoka M, Ohta T. Randomized clinical trial of treatment for TMJ disc displacement. J Dent Res. 2010 Nov;89(11):1259-63.

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Derek Richards

Derek Richards is the Director of the Centre for Evidence-based Dentistry, Editor of the Evidence-based Dentistry Journal, Consultant in Dental Public Health with Forth Valley Health Board and Honorary Senior Lecturer at Dundee & Glasgow Dental Schools. He helped to establish both the Centre for Evidence-based Dentistry and the Evidence-based Dentistry Journal. He has been involved with teaching EBD and a wide range of evidence-based initiatives both nationally and internationally since 1994.

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