Oral Health Therapists and Temporomandibular Disorders: What's the Link?

Temporomandibular Disorders (TMDs) are a significant public health problem. They refer to a collection of dental and medical conditions affecting the temporomandibular joints, masticatory muscles and/or associated structures. Although sufferers are usually women of child-bearing age, the prevalence of TMD in children / adolescents is high and appears to be increasing. Population studies show that approximately 75% of people have signs while 33% have symptoms of TMDs. As such, most dental hygienists and therapists will encounter patients with TMDs in a routine work week and play a critical role in the screening / diagnosis of TMDs.  In addition to jaw pain and headache, the other signs and symptoms of TMDs include ear complaints, jaw joint sounds, jaw function difficulties, limited or abnormal jaw movements as well as catching/locking of the jaws.

This lecture aims to help OHTs understand TMDs, their classification, prevalence, etiology, signs and symptoms. Participants will learn how to screen for TMDs and minimize complaints arising from dental treatment. An overview of TMDs management will also be presented. The majority of patients with TMDs respond well to conservative treatment but for some the TMDs are more chronic and may develop as a reaction to psychosocial stresses. The diagnosis and management of these patients are more complex requiring multi-disciplinary care based on the biopsychosocial model.

Speaker: Adrian Yap


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