Aims: To describe how some management practices in the field of orofacial musculoskeletal disorders (also described as temporomandibular disorders [TMDs]) are based on concepts about occlusal relationships, condyle positions, or functional guidance; for some patients, these procedures may be producing successful outcomes in terms of symptom reduction, but in many cases, they can be examples of unnecessary overtreatment.
Schlagwörter: orofacial musculoskeletal disorders, overtreatment, success, temporomandibular disorders, temporomandibular joint
Methods: The authors discuss the negative consequences of this type of overtreatment for both doctors and patients, as well as the impact on the dental profession itself. Special focus is given to trying to move the dental profession away from the old mechanical paradigms for treating TMDs and forward to the more modern (and generally more conservative) medically based approaches, with emphasis on the biopsychosocial model.
Results: The clinical implications of such a discussion are apparent. For example, it can be argued that the routine use of Phase II dental or surgical treatments for managing most orofacial pain cases represents overtreatment, which cannot be defended on the grounds of symptom improvement (ie, "successful" outcomes) alone. Similarly, there is enough clinical evidence to conclude that complex biomechanical approaches focusing on the search for an ideal specific condylar or neuromuscular position for the management of orofacial musculoskeletal disorders are not needed to produce a positive clinical result that is stable over time.
Conclusion: Typically, overtreatment successes cannot be easily perceived by the patients or the treating dentists because the patients are satisfied and the dentists feel good about those outcomes. However, neither party knows whether an excessive amount of treatment has been provided. Therefore, both the practical and ethical aspects of this discussion about proper treatment vs overtreatment deserve attention.