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When it comes to dental conditions, TMJD is relatively new in being identified. It took until the 1950s for TMJ syndrome to get the attention it deserved from the healthcare community. And it took another 30 years after that for healthcare professionals to diagnose and treat this oral condition with the proper expertise. Earlier, TMJ pain was considered a person’s mental invention. In other words, it was all in their head. Needless to say, those were times when people experiencing TMJ pain were not offered the relief they needed. Thankfully, things have begun to change for the better for some time now.

TMJD has been becoming more familiar since the 1980s when research and technology discovered the science relating to the temporomandibular joint and how it affected one’s face, jaw, and neck. Thanks to studies on volunteers who were experiencing TMJD, a link was discovered between TMJD and arthritis. Out of this, we are continually evolving treatment methods.

National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research

These days, healthcare professionals focus on treating the causes of TMJD instead of just offering pain relief. We have The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), studying TMJD to find contributing risk factors to help understand what is causing TMJ disease and disorders. The more we know and understand the causes, the better we can diagnose and treat it.

National Institutes of Health

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) are studying pain in light of the difference in how men and women react to medications commonly prescribed for the pain and what TMJD has in common with myofascial pain and headaches. NIH is also evaluating what medications and treatments are best to provide optimal relief of ongoing pain. They even assess how the environment can stress a person and how it can aggravate their TMJD pain. Then they learn how lifestyle changes might impact their condition using this information.

Recent TMJ Disorder Timeline

  • 1937: Dr. Louis Schultz publishes a paper in The Journal of the American Medical Association on the treatment of pain and TMJ. He discussed how common TMJ was and that treating it with rest, oral appliances, physical therapy, and surgery was only partially successful.
  • 1950s: Schwartz questions the link between occlusion and TMD. Treatment of TMD shifted to surgical.
  • 1966: Malocclusion is labeled as the underlying cause of TMD, and treatment shifts from medicine to dentistry.
  • 1994: NIH sponsors a workshop on TMD and associated pain.
  • 1996 NIH health technology conference held for doctors and the general public to assess the management of TMD.
  • 2005: The Cochrane Oral Health Group claimed common TMJ treatments for pain had not been proven effective, such as occlusal adjustment for TMJ joint problems, occlusal splints for patients with sleep-bruxism, or stabilization therapy for temporomandibular pain dysfunction syndrome.
  • 2005: NIDCR begins a study of temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders (OPPERA Study).
  • 2006: Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found variations in a gene that resulted in a domino effect for chronic pain disorders that could help treat TMJD.
  • 2007: A study published in the Journal of Neurochemistry found a key interaction between head and neck nerve cell proteins, which could show how light affects migraines and TMD.
  • 2008: Emory University started a study comparing arthrocentesis, arthroscopy and arthroplasty for treating TMD.
  • 2009: National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) launches a TMJ awareness campaign, “Less is often best in treating TMJ.”
  • 2010: The American Association for Dental Research revises their policy statement on TMJD, supporting the NIH “Less is best” policy.

Relief for your TMJ/TMD Symptoms

Ongoing research continues as we look for the best solutions for treating damaged parts of the temporomandibular joint, discs, and chewing muscles when it comes to your TMJ/TMJD. If you have questions about painful TMJ/TMD, we invite you to reach out to our team to schedule a consultation. Now more than ever, we have helpful solutions that can give you the relief you need!