The pathophysiology of temporomandibular disorders and its associated pain is the subject of Professor Dr. Antoon de Laat, University of Leuven/Belgium. He talks about the mostly unclear etiological aspects of temporomandibular disorders and places emphasis on the complex interactions between biological processes, mechanical influences and psychosocial impacts.
Apart from patients, who can objectively be diagnosed with temporomandibular disorders, but who don’t suffer from any psychological strain, the people with TMD can be categorized into two phenotypes: those feeling massive psychological distress and those whose pain sensations constantly amplify. Both are influenced in itself by risk factors like their present mood, anxieties or depression and are generally subject to a genetic regulation.
Additionally, you have to make a difference between pain originating from the mascatory muscles, which is usually dull and diffuse and pain sensations originating from temporomandibular joint dysfunctions, being mostly sharp and circumscribed.
Prof. de Laat furthermore talks about the diverse ways of rehabilitation including the application of pain killers, splint therapy, physiotherapy, physical therapy and operational options without ever losing his attention to the patients’ psychosocial problems which mainly seem to cause temporomandibular disorders.