Aims: Whiplash injury to the neck is often considered a significant risk factor for development of temporomandibular disorders (TMD), and has been proposed to produce internal derangements of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Few studies, however,
have examined TMD-related pain in acute whiplash patients compared with a matched control group. The aim of the present study was to assess pain and sensorimotor function in the craniofacial region in an unselected group of patients sustaining a motor vehicle accident involving a rear collision. Methods: Prospectively, 19 acute whiplash patients exposed to a motor vehicle accident involving a rear collision participated in a study of TMD. The control group consisted of 20 age- and gender-matched ankleinjury patients. Participants were seen within 4 weeks and again at 6 months post-injury. The masticatory system was examined in accordance with the research diagnostic criteria. Participants underwent structured interviews, filled out the McGill Pain Questionnaire (MPQ), and had their masticatory system examined by a trained dentist, blinded to their diagnosis. Pain detection threshold (PDT) to pressure stimuli, and maximal voluntary occlusal force (MVOF) were obtained at each visit. Results: One whiplash patient and 1 ankle-injury patient had jaw pain at the
first visit. Palpation scores of the TMJ and the summated palpation scores only tended to be higher in patients sustaining a whiplash injury than in ankle- injury controls at the first visit. However, MPQ, TMD symptoms and signs, MVOF and PDT were not significantly different in whiplash-injury and ankle-injury patients after 4 weeks and 6 months. Conclusion: TMD pain after whiplash injury and ankle injury is rare, suggesting that whiplash injury is not a major risk factor for the development of TMD problems. Further studies are needed to identify which other factors may contribute to TMD pain.
J OROFAC PAIN 2002;16:118–128.