Treatment of joint pain and joint noises associated with a recent TMJ internal derangement: a comparison of an anterior repositioning splint, a full-arch maxillary stabilization splint, and an untreated control group

Cranio. 2004 Jul;22(3):209-19. doi: 10.1179/crn.2004.026.


Pain and joint noises associated with temporomandibular joint (TMJ) internal derangement are often treated by using an intra-oral splint. This study evaluated whether an anterior repositioning splint (AR splint) could be more effective in the treatment of these symptoms than a full-arch maxillary stabilization splint (FAMS splint), because of its capability to re-establish immediately the normal condyle/disk relationship. The authors treated 40 patients (average age 16.8; range 8.0-24.0) with confirmed internal derangement, joint pain, and joint noises in at least one TMJ for at least two months, with AR splint (20 subjects) or FAMS splint (20 subjects); 10 untreated patients comprised the control group. Joint noise, joint pain, and the intensity of pain were assessed using a visual analogic scale (VAS), and the pain was characterized (i.e., constant or chewing/biting pain) and evaluated monthly for eight months. Significantly fewer AR splint patients experienced pain after four months of treatment. A significantly lower intensity of pain was experienced by the AR splint patients after two months of treatment. Significantly fewer AR splint patients experienced chewing/biting pain after eight months of treatment. The frequency of joint noises decreased over time, with no significant differences between the groups. In conclusion, the AR splint seems to be more effective in decreasing pain, but it seems to make no difference in the treatment of joint noises.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Arthralgia / therapy*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Child
  • Equipment Design
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Joint Dislocations / physiopathology
  • Joint Dislocations / therapy*
  • Male
  • Mandibular Condyle / physiopathology
  • Mastication / physiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Occlusal Splints / classification*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Sound
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Temporomandibular Joint Disc / physiopathology
  • Temporomandibular Joint Disorders / physiopathology
  • Temporomandibular Joint Disorders / therapy*