Temporomandibular disorders. Part I: A comparison of symptom profiles in Australian and Finnish patients.
ABSTRACT Variability in the assessment methods of patients seeking treatment for musculoskeletal disorders of the masticatory system confounds comparative assessment of different studies. In this study, presenting symptom profiles were assessed in 40 Australian and 42 Finnish patients with temporomandibular disorders. The symptom parameters of these patients were compared with those of 40 Australians reporting acute dental pain and were assessed with reference to response to conservative management. A self-administered anamnestic questionnaire was used in a standard, systematic, and comparative way to assess demographic data, general health status, and symptom parameters according to type, frequency, severity, duration, location, impact on the patients' lives, urgency for need of treatment, and possible initiating factors. It was found that the two nationalities studied had similar presentations of cardinal symptom profiles. Statistically significant differences in major presenting symptoms were found between patients with temporomandibular disorders and those with acute dental pain, but not between patients who responded rapidly as opposed to slowly to conservative therapy. It was concluded that the presenting symptom profiles were similar for the two nationalities and were not related to treatment outcome.