The TMJ is a bi-arthrodial joint combining a hinge joint and gliding joint. These two joint components are lined with metabolically active tissue that secretes synovial fluid containing hyaluronic acid and proteoglycans. This plays an important role in joint lubrication.
The collapse of the joint lubrication system due to increased intra-articular pressure causes an increase in joint friction between the joint surface and the disc, resulting in degenerative changes including chronic inflammation and disruption of cartilage. Typical features are pain, restriction of mandibular movement, TMJ clicking or popping, and potential facial deformities.
Currently, the primary goals of treatment for Temporomandibular Disorders (TMDs) are to increase the normal range of mandibular motion and relieve the functional pain of the TMJ itself. The treatment protocol for TMDs consists of a conservative treatment regime including physiotherapy, the use of a dental stabilization splint, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory gel, and a soft diet to relieve symptoms.
If there is no or insufficient improvement after a conservative treatment period of 3 to 6 months, injection of PRF may be utilized.
Injections of liquid PRF in the TMJ aim to allow the joint to remodel damaged synovial fluid, cartilage, and bone surfaces. This protocol represents a novel minimally invasive option for the relief and improvement of patient-reported TMJ pain.
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