Temporomandibular disorder patients' journey through care

Justin Durham, Jimmy Steele, M. Adel Moufti, Robert Wassell, Peter Robinson, Catherine Exley

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Temporomandibular disorders (TMDs) are a common group of chronic disorders (illnesses) that health care providers can find difficult to diagnose and explain. Similar difficulties in the diagnosis of other chronic conditions have been shown to have a negative impact on health. An understanding of TMD patients' experiences and journey through care could indicate time points and strategies to help patients. Objective: To develop a robust empirically derived map of TMD sufferers' journey through care. Methods: A qualitative study using semi-structured interviews was undertaken using a purposive sample of patients with TMDs. Analysis followed the principles of the constant comparative method where data collection and thematic analysis occurred concurrently and continued until data saturation (n = 29). Results: The experiences of patients could be grouped into three key stages: genesis of problem, seeking help in primary care and secondary care intervention. A wide variety of negative effects were described throughout these stages. An empirically derived map of the patients' reported journey through care emerged. Conclusions: The experiences of patients with TMDs mirror experiences of other types of chronic illness. Mapping the journey through care for TMDs highlights the potential for interaction between the stages of the journey and the individual's illness. It may be possible to target interventions at specific stages on the map to help minimize the psychosocial effects of TMDs. © 2011 John Wiley & Sons A/S.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)532-541
    Number of pages9
    JournalCommunity Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011


    • health perceptions
    • health services research
    • psychosocial aspects of oral health
    • qualitative research
    • Temporomandibular Disorders
    • TMDs


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