Masticatory function in subacute TMD patients before and after treatment

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Masticatory function can be impaired in temporomandibular disorders (TMDs) patients. We investigated whether treatment of subacute non-specific TMD patients may influence oral function and clinical outcome measures. Fifteen patients with subacute TMD participated in the study. We quantified masticatory performance, maximum voluntary bite force, muscle activity and chewing cycle duration before and after treatment. Masticatory performance and bite force of patients were compared with the results obtained for an age- and gender-matched group of subjects without TMD complaints. Furthermore, we determined possible changes in anamnestic and clinical scores from questionnaires (mandibular function impairment questionnaire; MFIQ), pain scores and clinical outcome measures. Maximum bite force significantly increased, although the values after treatment were still significantly lower than those of the subjects without TMD complaints. The corresponding electromyography values did not show significant change after treatment. The masticatory performance of the patients remained unaltered; patients chewed significantly less efficient than controls. The average duration of chewing cycles significantly decreased after treatment. We observed a significant improvement in MFIQ scores. During the clenching and chewing tasks, the visual analogue scale scores were significantly higher than before these tasks. We may conclude that subacute temporomandibular joint disorders negatively influence chewing behaviour. Bite force, chewing cycle duration and also perceived mandibular function significantly improved after treatment, although the masticatory performance remained unaltered.

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