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“Management is a Black Art” – Professional Opinions of Temporomandibular Disorders

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Justin DurhamORCiD, Emeritus Professor Jimmy Steele CBE, Dr Robert Wassell, Professor Catherine Exley


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Objective: To establish among professionals treating Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD) in the UK the rationale behind the use of different management methodologies. Methods: This is a qualitative study using in-depth semi-structured interviews to explore professionals' perceptions of TMD patients and treatments. The interview explored professional's perceptions of TMD patients and their problems, methods of management of TMD and professionals' definition of a successful treatment. A purposive sample (n= 20) of dental professionals was drawn from teaching institutions, district general hospitals and general dental practice in the U.K. Data collection and analysis occurred concurrently until saturation was reached. All data were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Interviews were conducted by one researcher and analysed by two. The data were entered into a framework and both framework and constant comparative analysis were used to interpret it. Results: The main emerging themes were: 1) there was an acknowledgement of the paucity of good quality evidence on which to base practice and definition of success'; 2) practitioners recognised an element of distress inherent in TMD; 3) the management of TMD and some of these patients was difficult. With regard to treatment, initially a conservative, reversible approach was generally favoured. Success tended to be defined by the professional as patient satisfaction with symptomatic relief achieved and their ability to cope with the condition. Where it was not possible to achieve a successful outcome, some professionals suggested a more multi-disciplinary approach to patient care may be required. Conclusion: This study highlights a number of key issues that should be raised in the professional forum for debate and points to the need for a national guideline on the management of TMD.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Durham J, Steele J, Wassell R, Exley C

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: Journal of Dental Research: British Society for Dental Research (BSDR) conference

Year of Conference: 2005

Pages: 0239

ISSN: 0022-0345

Publisher: Sage Publications, Inc.

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 15440591