Temporomandibular Disorders: A Review of Etiology, Clinical Management, and Tissue Engineering Strategies
Meghan K. Murphy, BE/Regina F. MacBarb, BS/Mark E. Wong, DDS/Kyriacos A. Athanasiou, PhD, PE
Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) are a class of degenerative musculoskeletal conditions associated with morphologic and functional deformities that affect up to 25% of the population, but their etiology and progression are poorly understood and, as a result, treatment options are limited. In up to 70% of cases, TMD are accompanied by malpositioning of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disc, termed “internal derangement.” Although the onset is not well characterized, correlations between internal derangement and osteoarthritic change have been identified. Because of the complex and unique nature of each TMD case, diagnosis requires patient-specific analysis accompanied by various diagnostic modalities. Likewise, treatment requires customized plans to address the specific characteristics of each patient’s disease. In the mechanically demanding and biochemically active environment of the TMJ, therapeutic approaches that can restore joint functionality while responding to changes in the joint have become a necessity. One such approach, tissue engineering, which may be capable of integration and adaptation in the TMJ, carries significant potential for the development of repair and replacement tissues. The following review presents a synopsis of etiology, current treatment methods, and the future of tissue engineering for repairing and/or replacing diseased joint components, specifically the mandibular condyle and TMJ disc. An analysis of native tissue characterization to assist clinicians in identifying tissue engineering objectives and validation metrics for restoring healthy and functional structures of the TMJ is followed by a discussion of current trends in tissue engineering.