The use of acupuncture versus dry needling in the treatment of myofascial temporomandibular dysfunction

ABSTRACT BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Orofacial pain is the pain felt in the oral cavity and the face, with a multifactorial etiology, being a representative of the temporomandibular dysfunction. Among the various possibilities for treatment are acupuncture and the dry needling. The objective of this study was to compare the effectiveness of these two therapies in the cases of myogenic temporomandibular dysfunction. CONTENTS: A review of articles relating to the topic was conducted on the LILACS, Medline, Scielo and Pubmed database, cross-referencing the following descriptors: “acupuncture” OR “electroacupuncture” OR “dry needling” AND “orofacial pain syndrome” OR “orofacial pain” OR “temporomandibular dysfunction” OR “temporomandibular disorders”, myofascial temporomandibular dysfunction or trigger points in last the 16 years. Clinical trials, systematic reviews, metanalysis, case studies involving human beings were included. The selected languages were English and Portuguese. Twenty-one articles were found that were carefully evaluated and tabulated. The present study identified that both acupuncture and dry needling were significantly important in the resolution of the signs and symptoms of the myogenous temporomandibular dysfunction, with adequate effectiveness. CONCLUSION: It can be pointed out that dry needling seems to be more effective in the resolution of local pain on the myofascial trigger points than just using of acupuncture points at a distance. Acupuncture demonstrated positive influences in the general health quality and pain of patients with myofascial temporomandibular dysfunction. Therefore, the therapy of choice will depend on the professional’s assessment of the clinical conditions of the patient and the therapeutic goals to be achieved.