Treatment of patients with temporomandibular disorders – a retrospective treatment comparison
PURPOSE: Effectiveness of splint therapy or exercise therapy has been discussed controversially in literature. This retrospective study was intended to compare effectiveness of splint therapy or exercise therapy alone or with a combination of both methods. MATERIAL OR PATIENTS AND METHODS: The study evaluated 97 patients from the Clinic of Temporomandibular Dysfunction. Pain sensation, muscle pain on palpation, mouth opening and a subjective anamnestic index were assessed before and after therapy and compared. 29 patients received exercise therapy alone (group ET), 37 patients splint therapy alone (group S), and 31 patients a combination with splint therapy plus exercise therapy (group ET + S). RESULTS: Post-therapeutic or post-treatment results showed significant reduction of pain (p < 0.001) and muscle pain on palpation (p < 0.001) in patients of all groups with no significant differences between the individual groups. Mouth opening improved significantly in patients of groups ET and ET + S, but not in those in group S, who had already shown normal mouth opening in the baseline assessment. Subjective patient assessments of the individual items showed a significant improvement in all groups (p < 0.001). CONCLUSION: All treatment modalities for temporomandibular disorders evaluated in this study were shown to be effective with no statistically significant differences seen between the individual groups. However, it must be considered that the baseline findings for the patients in the group with combination therapy were inferior.