Electromyography-Guided Adjustment of an Occlusal Appliance: Effect on Pain Perceptions Related with Temporomandibular Disorders. A Controlled Clinical Study

Diagnostics (Basel). 2021 Apr 8;11(4):667. doi: 10.3390/diagnostics11040667.


Background: The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effect of an electromyography-guided adjustment of an occlusal appliance on the management of Temporomandibular disorder-related pain.

Methods: Data from 40 adult patients (20 males and 20 females), who underwent treatment with occlusal appliances, were recorded. A total of 20 appliances were adjusted according to electromyographic data (group 1), while the others were adjusted by a clinical conventional procedure (group 2). Muscle pain to palpation, pain during articular movements and headache were recorded by a VAS score (from 0 to 100) before the beginning of treatment (T0), at T1 (4 weeks) and T2 (8 weeks).

Results: Results showed a reduction of pain in both groups, with a better trend for group 1, where better results were achieved at T1 and maintained stability at T2, with an improved mean value regarding all parameters studied. After 8 weeks, only small recurrences started to occur in muscle pain to palpation in group 2.

Conclusions: An occlusal appliance seems to be able to achieve a clinical improvement of Temporomandibular disorder (TMD)-related pain and headache, independently from the adjustment procedure adopted. However, the use of a surface electromyographic activity of masticatory muscles (sEMG) device as an aid in the calibration procedure seems to allow a better trend because the improvement of symptoms was obtained before, after the first four weeks, with an improvement in percentages of all the variables investigated. While the conventional procedure obtained later the improvement.

Keywords: electromyography; muscle pain; occlusal appliance; removable appliance; temporomandibular joint disorders.