A Large Prospective Research Study Addressing the Questions: Does Treatment for TMD Produce Symptom Improvement, Does Relapse Occur and Do Untreated Patients Improve Spontaneously Over Time?

This is an example of a longitudinal, prospective research study using the TMJ Scale on a large number of patients in multiple clinical settings.  This study was designed to investigate whether treated patients achieve both clinically and statistically significant levels of improvement relative to non-treated patients and whether there is any symptom relapse after treatment is completed.  Another question addressed was whether or not untreated TMJ patients improve spontaneously over time.

Brown DT, Gaudet EL, Jr, Temporomandibular Treatment Outcomes: Second Report of a Large-Scale Prospective Clinical Study, Jour of Craniomandib Practice, (20)4: 244-253, 2002. 

Abstract:

Longitudinal studies of outcomes for temporomandibular disorder (TMD) treatment are rarely done and even when conducted often suffer methodological weaknesses. These may include the lack of valid outcome measures for symptom changes. This second report of a long-term multi-site study of 2104 treated, 250 untreated, and 44 long-term treated TMD patients is part of a continuing effort to study TMD treatment efficacy in a very large patient population. A validated symptom measurement system, the TMJ Scale, assured a valid and uniform assessment of treatment outcomes across a large number of practices. Data indicate that untreated TMD patients do not improve spontaneously over time and that patients treated with a variety of active modalities achieve clinically and statistically significant levels of improvement with no evidence of symptom relapse after treatment completion. The use of anterior repositioning appliance therapy produced better results than flat plane splint therapy.

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