The interdisciplinary management of temporomandibular disorders | The International Academy of Osteopathy IAO

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The interdisciplinary management of temporomandibular disorders


Author: Kristin Brunner 
Supervisor: Thusinta Somalingam 

Introduction: Growing scientific knowledge confirms that temporomandibular disorders (TMD) present a complex clinical pattern, which includes multifactorial etiology, variable symptoms and is often related to other comorbid pain conditions that go beyond the dental specialist field. So an interdisciplinary diagnosis and treatment is of growing importance.

Leading questions: 
What is the state of descriptive research regarding interdisciplinary TMD-management? 
What is the status quo regarding interdisciplinary teamwork for the care of TMD-patients in daily practice?

 Intention: To show the importance of interdisciplinary registration of TMD-patients. To describe the current state of research regarding the use of terms for the interdisciplinary teamwork, the participating professional groups, the interdisciplinary concepts, the process of information management and the prospects in the field of education and further vocational training. The evaluation of the interdisciplinary conception in the daily practice with regard to the categories of cooperation, information management and subjective point of view. To map out a future strategy for better interdisciplinary TMD-registration and-treatment of such patients.

Methods: The theoretical part focuses on research, selection and evaluation of current research literature, found in online-databases and research library catalogues to identify the currently existing theoretical models for interdisciplinary TMD-management. The description of the status quo regarding the care of TMD-patients is derived from the assessment of the interviews with five experts, which are evaluated according to the qualitative content analysis by Mayring.

Results: The analysis of the literature shows in general a strong agreement among participating professional groups and the importance of team communication. But there are controversial opinions as to the use of terms describing the interdisciplinary teamwork and the different concepts. Little attention is paid to information management. There are great deficits in the area of education and further vocational training concerning standardized curricula and the qualification of teachers. The assessment of the interviews shows only a semi-conformity compared to the analysis of the literature. In practice regional partnerships predominate but with different styles of leadership. There are big deficits regarding information management, and it is generally agreed that an interdisciplinary approach to the management of TMD is highly important.

Discussion: There is a clear need for further development of interdisciplinary concepts, the standardization of education and further vocational training, the improvement of information management and deeper interdisciplinary research in order to make use of the effects of good interdisciplinary teamwork to improve and optimize the treatment of TMD-patients.