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Otologic symptomatology associated with the temporomandibular joint disorder

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BACKGROUND. Functional connection between the stomatognathic system and the acoustic-vestibular apparatus is approached with interest in topical studies, in an attempt to elucidate in depth the cause-effect relationship between pathology and symptom. The temporomandibular joint disorder may be accompanied by a series of otological symptoms such as otalgia, tinnitus and vertigo. For this reason, for a correct diagnosis, a complex clinical examination is required both on the acousticvestibular analyzer and on neighbouring structures.

MATERIAL AND METHODS. We conducted a clinical study, on a group of 97 patients diagnosed with temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJD) and treated for this pathology. All patients included in the study were evaluated by the dentist and the ENT specialist. The patients were treated at the dental clinic and then returned to the ENT clinic two months after completion of the treatment for re-examination, recording changes in otologic symptoms in order to obtain the results of the study.

RESULTS. Of the 97 patients with TMJD, 58 also associated otic symptomatology (otalgia – 74.13%, tinnitus – 53.45%, vertigo – 43.10%). The evaluation done two months after treatment of the temporomandibular joint disorder revealed a significant remission of otalgia (decrease in Mean VAS from 6.05 to 2.49), followed by vertigo (from 5.08 to 2.52) and by tinnitus (from 4.84 to 3.84). Important changes also occurred in the results of the vestibular assessments.

CONCLUSION. The most common otological symptom of patients with TMJD is auricular pain. Otalgia, tinnitus and vertigo can be improved by dental treatment of the temporomandibular dysfunction, auricular pain having the highest rate of remission.