Dentists’ knowledge about the relationship between temporomandibular dysfunction and oclusal factors

Abstract Introduction Current scientific evidence has shown that treatment for temporomandibular disorder should follow a conservative approach that is adapted to the patient’s psychosocial status. However, treatments aiming at occlusal changes have been used for years by dentists and the abandonment of these paradigms is essential for the development of dentistry. Objective The aim of this study was to evaluate the knowledge of dentists on the relationship between temporomandibular disorder (TMD) and occlusal factors. Material and method A previously published questionnaire was sent to the dentists registered at the Regional Council of Dentistry of Piauí, Brazil (n = 2,500) with data about the professional, their training and knowledge about TMD and occlusal factors. The consensus of the current literature, “gold standard”, was compared with the answers obtained. The data were analyzed descriptively and through chi-square test and odds ratio (p <0.05). Result Five hundred and five dentists answered and 434 composed the sample. The majority of the participants was women (72.3%) with 7.2 (± 6.63) years of education and worked in the public-private sector (39.0%). The dentists were divided into Group 1 (GEsp.): specialists in TMD, dental prosthesis and/or orthodontics (n = 234) and Group 2 (GClin.): clinicians and other specialists (n = 200). GEsp. and GClin. presented similar responses for half of the questions. Four (of six) were answered in disagreement with the gold standard: occlusal factors, interference in the balance, orthodontic therapy and occlusal adjustment were little known. GEsp. presented greater knowledge with a significant difference in relation to GClin. regarding TMD and occlusal interferences (odds ratio = 2,341 (1,305-4,202), p = 0.004). Conclusion It can be concluded that the dentists presented deficiencies in the knowledge of the relationship between TMD and occlusal factors. Dentists specialists in TMD, dental prosthesis and/or orthodontics did not demonstrate a higher level of knowledge when compared to the others.