The prevalence of oral stage dysphagia in adults presenting with temporomandibular disorders: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Órla Gilheaney*, Sibylle Béchet, Patrick Kerr, Ciaran Kenny, Shauna Smith, Rita Kouider, Rachel Kidd, Margaret Walshe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Temporomandibular disorders (TMDs) are the most commonly experienced non-dental orofacial pain disorders, with pain and dysfunction potentially resulting in oral stage dysphagia (OD). However, limited research has been conducted on this condition, with potential negative effects on clinical practice. Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of OD in adults presenting with TMDs, diagnosed as per the Research Diagnostic Criteria for Temporomandibular Disorders or the Diagnostic Criteria for Temporomandibular Disorders protocols. Material and methods: A systematic review of the literature was completed. Nine electronic databases were searched from inception to January 2017, with no date/language restriction applied. Grey literature, conference proceedings, and reference lists were also searched. Studies presenting original data regarding OD prevalence in adults presenting with TMDs were included if they investigated impaired swallowing, mastication, masticatory pain or fatigue, or weight loss. Study eligibility and quality were assessed by two independent reviewers. Methodological quality was assessed using the Down’s and Black tool. Results and conclusions: This search yielded 20 eligible studies. Swallowing itself was impaired in only 9.3% of patients with TMDs. A range of additional OD signs and symptoms were also commonly reported (e.g. masticatory pain (87.4%) and fatigue (62%)). Study limitations included the small number of studies which were eligible for inclusion. As signs and symptoms of OD are frequently reported by patients with TMDs, psychometrically robust prospective research is warranted to determine current and optimal management of this condition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)448-458
Number of pages11
JournalActa Odontologica Scandinavica
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 18 Aug 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Dysphagia
  • prevalence
  • temporomandibular joint
  • temporomandibular joint disorder


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