Objective: The purpose of this review is to evaluate the effectiveness of using acupuncture treatment for temporomandibular disorders (TMD) of muscular origin according to research published in the last decade.
Methods: The information was gathered using the MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, and CISCOM databases. The inclusion criteria for selecting the studies were the following: (1) only randomized controlled trials (RCTs) were selected; (2) studies had to be carried out on patients with TMD of muscular origin; (3) studies had to use acupuncture treatment; and (4) studies had to be published in scientific journals between 1997 and 2008. Two (2) independent reviewers analyzed the methodological quality of the studies using the Delphi list. A total of four RCTs were chosen once the methodological quality was judged as being acceptable. All of the studies included in the review compared the acupuncture treatment with a placebo treatment. All of them described results that were statistically significant in relation to short-term improvement of TMD signs and symptoms of a muscular origin, except one of the analyzed studies that found no significant difference between acupuncture and sham acupuncture.
Conclusions: In the authors' opinion, research into the long-term effects of acupuncture in the treatment of TMD is needed. We also recommend larger samples sizes for future studies, so the results will be more reliable.