University of Florida News has revealed the results of the Orofacial Pain Prospective Evaluation and Risk Assessment study, or OPPERA.
This was one of the largest clinical investigations into the causes of temporomandibular joint disorders, or TMD, and the researchers hope the discoveries may lead to new methods of diagnosing and treating facial pain conditions, and predicting who will be susceptible to them.
“A major benefit of the OPPERA study is the comprehensive evaluation of demographic, clinical, biological, sensory and psychosocial factors that may contribute to increased risk of TMD,” said Roger Fillingim to Florida News, who is a professor of community dentistry and behavioral science at the UF College of Dentistry and the principal investigator for the UF OPPERA site. “It is important to assess variables across these multiple biopsychosocial domains in order to fully reflect the complexity of chronic pain development and persistence.”
The researchers discovered –
- Chronic TMD becomes more frequent with increasing age in women, but not in men.
- A wide range of biological and psychological factors appear to contribute to the condition.
- People with TMD are more sensitive to mildly painful sensations.
- People with TMD experienced greater heart rate increases during mild physical and psychological stress.
- New and important genetic factors that appear to be linked to chronic TMD.
The research team will continue to publish additional findings and insights as they continue to analyze the study data.
For more on this story see: Large-scale study sheds light on painful jaw disorder.