The purpose of this study was to assess the prevalence and pattern of self-reported TMD jaw pain in a randomized stratified sample from the general population living in the Province of Québec, Canada. Through a telephone survey, standardized questions were asked to 897 French-speaking respondents, aged 18 years old and over, regarding frequency, severity, daily pattern of jaw pain, presence of difficulty in opening, joint clicking, and sleeping problems. All prevalence estimates were adjusted to the sociodemographic distribution of the non-institutionalized population. The results indicate that TMD jaw pain is self-reported by 30% of the general population; however, the prevalence of cases reporting frequent episodes (quite often or very often) is estimated at 7%, with more than two-thirds (69%) of the respondents in this subgroup experiencing moderate to severe pain. The prevalence rates of frequent difficulty in opening and joint clicking were estimated at 9% and 4%, respectively. Approximately one in four subjects with frequent episodes of jaw pain also reported frequent joint clicking or difficulty in opening, and a strong association (Gamma coefficient > 0.6) was found among all three TMD symptoms. Our data suggest that the prevalence of clinically significant TMD-related jaw pain (frequent jaw pain of moderate to severe intensity) is approximately 5% in the general population of the Province of Québec. In the nine months preceding the survey, about 2% of the total population sought treatment for a TMD symptom.
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