Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) affect twelve million adults in the US and present significant negative public health impact. The disorder is extremely challenging to treat unless diagnosed and treated early. This is especially so when TMD occurs alongside systemic health concerns including pain elsewhere in the body, difficult sleeping, anxiety, and depression.
In recent studies, Hong Chen, assistant professor of preventive and community dentistry, and her research team have identified 4 pain-related phenotype groups that have different levels of risk for developing TMD and established profiles of each phenotype for young adults.
In this pilot study, Chen and John Warren, professor of preventive and community dentistry will draw from this earlier work to develop a TMD assessment that includes not only assessments of pain in the oral and facial region, but also pain elsewhere in the body, mental health, and sleep quality. This whole-person perspective lays the groundwork for developing effective and early intervention strategies, particularly for the phenotype groups at the greatest risk of developing TMD.
Given the challenges in treating TMD once it develops, applying this strategy to college-age students and young adults is especially important.
The goal of the pilot study itself is to use a survey to collect data and develop recruitment protocols while generating preliminary data from registered University of Iowa students. This study lays the foundation for a National Institutes of Health grant
The study is supported by the University of Iowa College of Dentistry’s Clinical/Dental Education Research Initiative Support Program (CRISP). This program is intended to provide support for faculty who have a specific clinical (or dental education) research question. The study is also supported by the Student Research Program with first-year dental student An-Vi Phan participating in the project.