Temporomandibular disorder treatment algorithm for otolaryngologists.

Journal Article (Review;Journal Article)


To review current literature describing the management of temporomandibular disorder (TMD) and to propose an evidence-based algorithm for otolaryngologists.

Data sources

A literature review using PubMed and Scopus was conducted to identify manuscripts that describe TMJ disorder etiology, diagnostic methods, and management across the fields of otolaryngology, general practice medicine, physical therapy, dentistry, and maxillofacial surgery.

Review methods

Two reviewers subjectively evaluated the studies based on the inclusion criteria, incorporating them into a comprehensive algorithm.


TMD is one of the most common conditions presenting to otolaryngology outpatient clinics. Etiologies of TMD vary widely, including myofascial, intraarticular, neurologic, traumatic, or psychiatric in origin. When conservative measures fail to produce symptom relief, alternative treatments and referral to outside specialists including psychiatry, physical therapy, dentistry, and maxillofacial surgery may be indicated. Premature or inappropriate referrals may lead to patients suffering TMD for extended periods of time, with alternating referrals between various specialists. Thus, we present a TMD treatment algorithm for otolaryngologists to aid in the decision-making process in managing TMD.

Implications for practice

Patients frequently present to otolaryngology outpatient clinics for symptoms of TMD. Multidisciplinary practice may be necessary to effectively treat TMD of varying etiology and severity. Following conservative treatment, appropriate referrals and treatment plans will reduce ineffective use of resources, deferral of treatment, and patient suffering. For this reason, a comprehensive algorithm for otolaryngologists will improve resource utilization and efficiency of treatment to ultimately provide improved treatment outcomes for patients.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Lee, E; Crowder, HR; Tummala, N; Goodman, JF; Abbott, J; Zapanta, PE

Published Date

  • November 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 42 / 6

Start / End Page

  • 103155 -

PubMed ID

  • 34214714

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1532-818X

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0196-0709

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.amjoto.2021.103155


  • eng