The Effect of Intra-articular Injection of Ultracain in the Temporomandibular Joint in Patients With Preauricular Pain: A Randomized Prospective Double-blind Placebo-controlled Crossover Study

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To evaluate the distinguishing ability of intra-articular anesthesia from placebo in orofacial pain patients with pain located in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) region, aiming at a validation of intra-articular anesthesia injection as a diagnostic test of pain in the TMJ region.

Materials and Methods

A randomized prospective double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover study was conducted among 19 patients (18 females, 1 male) with pain in the TMJ region. The short-term effects of intra-articular ultracain and saline injections on pain and maximum mouth opening were measured and analyzed.


Compared with placebo injections, a statistically significant difference in pain scores was found after intra-articular injection of a local anesthetic on Visual Analog Scale values. The maximum mouth opening scores did, however, not differ between the 2 groups.


TMJ injection with local anesthesia leads to the decrease of pain in patients with preauricular pain. To establish the source of pain, injection of a local anesthetic in the TMJ may be used as a diagnostic tool. However, the results of diagnostic injections should still be interpreted cautiously.

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