Temporomandibular Disorders

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A Position Paper of the International College of Cranio-Mandibular Orthopedics (ICCMO)

“Measure what is measurable and what is not measurable, make measurable.” Galileo Galilei

This position paper is endorsed by the Board of Regents of the International College of Cranio-Mandibular Orthopedics, 2011.

colored books isolated on glossy white #2ABSTRACT: Purpose: Two principal schools of thought regarding the etiology and optimal treatment of temporomandibular disorders exist; one physical/functional, the other biopsychosocial. This position paper establishes the scientific basis for the physical/functional. The ICCMO Position: Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) comprise a group of musculoskeletal disorders, affecting alterations in the structure and/or function of the temporomandibular joints (TMJ), masticatory muscles, dentition and supporting structures. The initial TMD diagnosis is based on history, clinical examination and imaging, if indicated. Diagnosis is greatly enhanced with physiologic measurement devices, providing objective measurements of the functional status of the masticatory system: TMJs, muscles and dental occlusion. The American Alliance of TMD organizations represent thousands of clinicians involved in the treatment of TMD. The ten basic principles of the Alliance include the following statement: Dental occlusion may have a significant role in TMD; as a cause, precipitant and /or perpetuating factor. Therefore, it can be stated that the overwhelming majority of dentists treating TMD believe dental occlusion plays a major role in predisposition, precipitation and perpetuation.

While our membership believes that occlusal treatments most frequently resolve TMD, it is recognized that TMD can be multi faceted and may exist with co-morbid physical or emotional factors that may require therapy by appropriate providers. The International College of Cranio-Mandibular Orthopedics (ICCMO), composed of academic and clinical dentists, believes that TMD has a primary physical/functional basis. Initial conservative and reversible TMD treatment employing a therapeutic neuromuscular orthosis that incorporates relaxed, healthy masticatory muscle function and a stable occlusion is most often successful. This is accomplished using objective measurement technologies and ultra low frequency transcutaneous electrical neural stimulation (TENS). Conclusion: Extensive literature substantiates the scientific validity of the physical/functional basis of TMD, efficacy of measurement devices and TENS and their use as aids in diagnosis and in establishing a therapeutic neuromuscular dental occlusion.

Clinical Implications: A scientifically valid basis for TMD diagnosis and treatment is presented aiding in therapy.

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