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One third of Finns have temporomandibular disorders

  • Health and well-being

Approximately one third of adult Finns have temporomandibular disorders, according to the doctoral dissertation by Veera Qvintus, DDS. The data in the thesis was gathered as part of the Health 2011 –Survey by the Finnish institute for health and welfare.

Temporomandibular disorders are pain and dysfunctions concerning the temporomandibular joints, the muscles of mastication and associated structures. The most common signs and symptoms of temporomandibular disorders are facial pain, restrictions and deviations of jaw movements as well as temporomandibular joint sounds such as clicking and crepitation. The abbreviation TMD is used for temporomandibular disorders.

According to the thesis, less than one tenth of adult Finns experience weekly pain in the facial area and during biting or opening their jaw. The Health 2011 Survey data comprised 1577 adult Finns. The data were gathered by interviews and clinical oral health examinations, which included an assessment of TMD signs and questions on TMD symptoms. Some TMD signs showed higher prevalences with increasing age. TMD signs and symptoms were more common among women than among men and they were also associated with low level of education, the number of teeth, denture status, and poor self-perceived health.

TMD patients did not receive additional benefit with stabilization splint treatment

Also, according to the thesis, stabilization splint treatment does not offer additional benefit for TMD signs, symptoms, or oral health-related quality of life compared with information and counseling alone. The randomized controlled trial comprised 80 adult TMD patients, who were randomly assigned to the splint group or the control group. Those in the control group received counseling and instructions on performing masticatory muscle exercises and those in the splint group additionally received stabilization splint treatment. The results showed no statistically significant differences in facial pain, TMD symptoms, or oral health-related quality of life between the groups at the one-year follow-up. Depressive and non-specific physical symptoms were relatively common among TMD patients and they seemed to negatively influence TMD treatment outcome.

The doctoral dissertation by Veera Qvintus DDS, entitled Temporomandibular disorders: prevalence of signs and symptoms and effects of stabilization splint treatment. Based on the Health 2011 Survey and a randomized controlled trial on adult Finns will be examined at the Faculty of Health Sciences. The public examination will be held at the University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio Campus on 20th of November 2020. The opponent in the public examination will be Professor Thomas List of the University of Malmö and the Custos will be professor Kirsi Sipilä of the University of Oulu.

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Dissertation online:

Qvintus, Veera. Temporomandibular disorders: prevalence of signs and symptoms and effects of stabilization splint treatment. Based on the Health 2011 Survey and a randomized controlled trial on adult Finns