A Comparison of TMD Patients With or Without Prior Motor Vehicle Accident Involvement: Initial Signs, Symptoms, and Diagnostic Characteristics

Keywords: Trauma, TMJ, TMD, Motor Vehicle Accident, Neck Pain, Facial Pain


Pages: 206-214
PMID: 9610310

The role of trauma in the etiology of temporomandibular disorders (TMD) is controversial. The objectives of this study were to compare presenting signs, symptoms, and diagnoses in patients who had motor vehicle accident trauma-related TMD to patients who had nontrauma-related TMD.

Files of 50 trauma and 50 matched nontrauma TMD patients were reviewed. Information concerning presenting pain, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and related symptoms, examination findings, and diagnoses was recorded.

Posttraumatic TMD patients reported higher facial (P = .006) and headache (P = .0001) pain ratings, neck symptom frequency (P < .01), ear-related symptoms (P = .02), sleep disturbance (P < .001), and occupational and avocational disability frequencies (P < .0001). They had greater masticato ry muscle (P < .001), neck muscle (P < .001), and TMJ tenderness (P = .01) scores and myofascial pain (P = .006) and arthralgia/capsulitis (P = .008) diagnoses. The nontrauma group had more subjective (P = .01) and objective (P = .05) TMJ crepitus and higher self-reprots of parafunctional jaw habits (P = .05).

Trauma may be an important etiologic factor for some TMD patients.

As the research indicated, patients with trauma related jaw injuries reported higher facial and headache pain, neck symptom frequency, ear-related symptoms, sleep disturbance, and occupational disability, as well as, greater jaw muscle, neck muscle and TMJ tenderness than the nontrauma group. We see many patients who were in a car accident many years ago, whose symptoms slowly have worsened and or whose pain has become chronic. If you’ve been in an accident recently or even in the past and you believe your jaw, neck or facial pain may be a result of that injury, come and see Dr. Farrell for a consultation. The longer the pain goes untreated the more centralized it may become and harder to treat. Call and schedule an appointment at 480-945-3629. www.headpaininstitute.com