Author: Marlotte Lagendijk
Supervisor: Hans Vander Mast, MSc. Ost.
Background: The connection between the neurological and biomechanical characteristics of the cervicothoracic junction and the temporomandibular area form the basis of this research project. However, the effect of osteopathic treatment interventions of the cervicothoracic junction on the symmetry of dental occlusion in patients experiencing temporomandibular dysfunctions (TMDs) is not studied before.
Objective: This study is about the functional connection between the cervicothoracic region and dental occlusion, and therefore on the temporomandibular joint. The aim of this master dissertation is to investigate if osteopathic treatment of the cervicothoracic region will have an influence on the mastication system and therefore on the TMJ and its occlusion.
Material and methods: For this project 50 participants with TMDs signed up. The research was conducted by comparing T-Scan measurements before and after the treatment intervention. The T-scan objectified different parameters of the dental occlusion. The parameter of maximum bite force was used, demonstrating a division of relative force between left and right of the dental occlusion in percentages. In the analyses, the difference in percentage of force between left and right in the maximum bite force was used. The osteopathic manual treatment of the cervicothoracic region consisted of osteopathic manipulative and mobilisation techniques of the corresponding structures of the spine and shoulder girdle. In this single-blind study, a control group received a placebo intervention treatment. The absolute differences in maximum bite force asymmetry (measured by the division in left- and right side bite force) before and after the intervention were compared between the treatment group and control group.
Results: The effect of the osteopathic treatment on the symmetry of dental occlusion is significant in comparison to the control group. The symmetry rates in maximum bite force between the left and right side, were effected with an average of 12.17% ± 1.83% for the treatment group and to 5.49 ± 0.81% for the control group. The Mann-Whitney Test demonstrated a p-value of 0.0045.