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Volume 7 , Issue 1
Winter 1993

Pages 23-37

Temporomandibular joint pain assessment

Stegenga/de Bont/Boering

PMID: 8467295

The aim of this study was to evaluate pain characteristics of patients with temporomandibular joint-related pain and propose a rationale for the assessment of pain and its impact on patients with temporomandibular disorders. Based on anamnestic information, the 88 patients in the sample were classified according to pain grade: (1) acute/subacute nonrecurrent or recurrent pain, n = 41 (46.6%); (2) persistently recurring pain in relatively high frequency, or nonsevere persistent pain, n = 32 (36.4%); (3) persistent and impairing pain, n = 8 (9.1%); (4) persistent and disabling pain, n = 7 (7.9%); and (5) persistent and handicapping pain, n = 0. Regarding TMJ pain provoked during the clinical examination, there was a significant difference among diagnostic subgroups, subgroups with different pain intensity levels, and pain grade subgroups, but no significant differences could be found based on the duration of the pain symptoms. Subgroups also did not significantly differ in scores on the Multi-dimensional Pain Inventory and the General Health Questionnaire. Based on the results of the study, the assessment of nonchronic TMJ pain may generally be limited to an accurate description of the pain complaint and thorough clinical assessment. Multidimensional assessment may be useful when the TMJ pain persists or is persistently recurring. Depending on individual circumstances, additional assessment procedures may prove to be useful. A general strategy for pain assessment in temporomandibular disorders is proposed.

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