Some patients afflicted by temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain today seek advice in online discussion forums. The present study sought to analyze the content of these online forums. Having entered the search terms kiefergelenkschmerzen forum (TMJ pain forum) in Google, the first 20 relevant online discussion forums that came up were included. Pain was the central term in the 27 opening posts. Often, functional impairment of the jaw was reported as well. Most posters asked questions as to how to deal with complaints, and about diagnostics and therapy. The most frequently suspected reason for the complaints was bruxism. Approximately 40% of the posters criticized previous therapies, and three out of four patients exhibited feelings of insecurity, irritation, and disappointment. A total of 96 people wrote 189 replies to the 27 initial posts. In almost all cases, the advice was to consult a professional. More than half of the threads mentioned oral appliances, followed by physiotherapy and other physical treatment, as well as analgesics. Some of the statements made were incorrect; even some of the recommendations made by dentists were at odds with current published information.
Keywords: arthralgia, evidence-based dentistry, online forum, pain, suffering textual analysis, TMDs, temporomandibular joint, CMD