How accurate is information about diagnosis and management of temporomandibular disorders on dentist websites?


      The purpose of this study was to determine the accuracy of information provided on websites of dental practices about the diagnosis and management temporomandibular disorders (TMDs) because patients often use the Internet to get information about their condition and to seek a practitioner for treatment.

      Study Design

      A web search was done to identify the types of dental providers who advertise themselves on the Internet as “specialists” in the management of TMDs. Issues that were analyzed included their classification of these disorders, the presumed etiology of such problems, and the types of treatment offered.


      Over two-thirds of the 255 dental providers identified who advertised management of TMDs on their websites were general dentists. TMDs were attributed to occlusal problems or malocclusion on 66.7% of the websites and were labeled as a single disorder rather than a group of disorders on 38.8% of the websites. Recommendations to treat occlusal problems or malocclusion to alleviate TMDs were made by 54.5% of the providers.


      Since these findings are not in line with current concepts about TMDs, significant inaccuracies exist with regard to the diagnosis and management of TMDs on dental practice websites. Therefore, patients need to be concerned about the dentists they may select to get their treatment, and practitioners need to be prepared to deal with the issues raised by misinformed patients.
      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


        • Diaz J.A.
        • Griffith R.A.
        • Ng J.J.
        • Reinert S.E.
        • Friedmann P.D.
        • Moulton A.W.
        Patients' use of the Internet for medical information.
        J Gen Intern Med. 2002; 17: 180-185
        • De boer M.J.
        • Versteegen G.J.
        • Van wijhe M.
        Patients' use of the Internet for pain-related medical information.
        Patient Educ Couns. 2007; 68: 86-97
        • Clarke M.A.
        • Moore J.L.
        • Steege L.M.
        • et al.
        Health information needs, sources, and barriers of primary care patients to achieve patient-centered care: a literature review.
        Health Inform J. 2015 Sep 15; ([Epub ahead of print])
        • Jerjes W.
        • Upile T.
        • Abbas S.
        • et al.
        Muscle disorders and dentition-related aspects in temporomandibular disorders: controversies in the most commonly used treatment modalities.
        Int Arch Med. 2008; 1: 1-23
      1. American Dental Association. Specialty definitions. Available at: Accessed March 7, 2016.

        • Brown R.S.
        • Mashni M.
        Emerging dental specialties and ethics.
        J Am Coll Dent. 2015; 3: 31-37
      2. Google. Google inside search. Available at: Accessed April 13, 2016.

        • Laskin D.M.
        Etiology of the pain-dysfunction syndrome.
        J Am Dent Assoc. 1969; 79: 147-153
        • Dworkin S.F.
        • LeResche L.
        Research diagnostic criteria for temporomandibular disorders: review criteria, examinations and specifications, critique.
        J Craniomandib Disord. 1992; 6: 301-355
        • Schiffman E.
        • Ohrbach R.
        • Truelove E.
        • et al.
        Diagnostic criteria for temporomandibular disorders (DC/TMD) for clinical and research applications: recommendations of the International RDC/TMD Consortium Network and Orofacial pain special interest group.
        J Oral Facial Pain Headache. 2014; 28: 6-27
        • Manfredini D.
        • Perinetti G.
        • Stellini E.
        • et al.
        Prevalence of static and dynamic dental malocclusion features in subgroups of temporomandibular disorder patients: implications for the epidemiology of the TMD-occlusion association.
        Quintessence Int. 2015; 46: 341-349
        • Klasser G.D.
        • Greene C.S.
        The changing field of temporomandibular disorders: what dentists need to know.
        J Can Dent Assoc. 2009; 75: 49-53
        • Greene C.S.
        • Obrez A.
        Treating temporomandibular disorders with permanent mandibular repositioning: is it medically necessary?.
        Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol. 2015; 119: 489-498
        • Reid K.I.
        • Greene C.S.
        Diagnosis and treatment of temporomandibular disorders: an ethical analysis of current practices.
        J Oral Rehabil. 2013; 40: 546-561
        • Greene C.S.
        Managing the care of patients with temporomandibular disorders: a new guideline for care.
        J Am Dent Assoc. 2010; 141: 1086-1088
        • Nichols L.C.
        • Hassall D.
        Quality and content of dental practice websites.
        Braz Dent J. 2011; 210: E11
      3. BrainyQuote. Mark Twain quotes. Available at: Accessed on March 7, 2016.