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Treatment Needs and Financial Costs Associated with TMJD

Just as temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders (TMJD) are difficult to define, they are also difficult to treat. There are many types of treatment interventions, from very conservative to very aggressive.

Table 1 presents results from several studies that examined TMJD treatments, success rates, and costs.

Table 1: Treatment needs and financial costs associated with TMJD


Pub. Year





Stowell AW8


Patients with acute TMD, randomized into early intervention and nonintervention groups.

TMJD treatment cost data over one year

Early biopsychosocial treatment intervention is associated with lower long-term treatment costs (p=.029).

Randomized clinical trial

Magnusson et al9


Randomly selected 15-year-olds from Sweden, followed for 20 years

TMJD treatment needs and treatment received over a 20-year period

18% of subjects received TMJD treatment over 20 years with a success rate of 85%.
13% reported one or more frequent symptoms.
3% moderate/severe chronic TMJD at age 35.

Longitudinal cohort study
(n=114, t=20 yrs)

White BA et al10


TMJD patients and matched subjects enrolled in a large HMO

At least one visit or procedure for TMJD.

Cases / Controls

Mean TMD clinic visits 3.26 / N/A

Mean dental visits: 7.46 / 5.28
Pharmacy dispensings 61.69 / 35.91
Outpatient visits 42.79 / 24.94
Inpatient admissions .69 / .51
Radiologic procedures 9.49 / 6.20
Outside claim/referral,
inpatient 0.09 / 0.08
Outside claim/referral,
outpatient 2.66 / 2.14

Case-control study
(n=8,801 cases, 8,801 matched controls)

Pow EH et al11


Adult Chinese residents of Hong Kong

Number that sought treatment

Males / Females

3.4% / 3.2%

Cross-sectional study (telephone survey, response rate 56%)

Shimshak, DG12


Patients in a claims database of a large New England managed care organization

Overall 1994 health care costs of TMJD vs. nonTMJD patients

Patients with TMJD were greater utilizers of both TMJD and non-TMJD-related healthcare services and had higher associated costs, even if treatment for TMJD was excluded:

: TMJD pts / nonTMJD pts
All Inpatient
claims 107.4 / 80.7

All Costs
per pt $956 / $517

claims ex-
cludingTMJD tx 91.1 / 80.7

Costs per pt ex-
cludingTMJD tx $752 / $517

Retrospective case-control study
(n=1713 cases, 532,485 controls)


8 Ibid reference 2.

9 Magnusson T, Egermark I, Carlsson GE. A longitudinal epidemiological study of signs and symptoms of temporomandibular disorders from 15 to 35 years of age. J Orofac Pain 2000;14:310-319.

10 White BA, et al: Health care utilization cost among health maintenance organization members with temporomandibular disorders. J OROFAC PAIN 2001;15:158-169.

11 Ibid reference 13.

12 Shimshak DG, DeFuria, MC: Health care utilization by patients with temporomandibular joint disorders. The Journal of Craniomandibular Practice, July 1998, Vol. 16, No. 3:185-193.

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This page last updated: March 07, 2014