Because different diseases in the jaw-orofacial region may give rise to similar symptoms, proper examination and diagnosis must precede treatment. Musculoskeletal disorders in the jaw-face region, generally termed craniomandbular disorders (CMD), are as prevalent as the two major dental diseases, caries and periodontitis, and constitute a signifiant health problem. There is a strong female preponderance among patients seeking care for CMD, and symptoms and signs are more frequent, severe, and longer-lasting in women than in men. Between 65% and 95% of CMD patients who seek care for the first time are reported to improve. A new concept for natural jaw function suggests that ”functional jaw movements” are the result of jointly activated jaw and neck muscles, leading to simultaneous movements in the temporomandibular, atlanto-occipital, and cervical spine joints, and that these jaw and head-neck movements have neural commands in common, are preprogammed, and are innate. Accordingly, natural jaw function, by definition, includes integrative jaw-neck behavior. A new explanatory model for the development of pain and dysfunction in the jaw-face in subjects with whiplash-associated disorders (WAD) proposes because natural jaw actions require a healthy state of the temporomandibular. atlanto-occipital, and cervical spine joints, it can be assumed that an injury to or disease of any of these three joint systems might derange natural jaw motor control. Based on findings of disturbed jaw-neck function in WAD, a new treatment model is suggested for patients with jaw-face pain and dysfunction and WAD. The rationale behind this approach is that intervention of jaw function by definition includes neck function. Results from implementation of this treatment model, showing improvement of magnitude and speed for both mandibular and head-neck movements, are reported. Finally, an appropriate term for the clinical condition comprising both jaw-face and head-neck pain and dysfunction is cervicocraniomandibular disorders (CCMD).
Saunders Elsevier , 2005. 1128-1133 p.