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Photography: Dentistry in children

Photography: Courtesy Natasha Suarez Carvajal

Members of the Cleft Lip and Palate Research Group -CESLPH- of the School of Dentistry, accompanied by teachers from the School of Psychology, calibrated for the first time an instrument to detect temporomandibular disorders but in children.

Temporomandibular disorders are those diseases that cause pain or dysfunction in the jaw. As noted by Dr. Claudia Restrepo Serna, a professor at the School of Dentistry, the instrument to detect these disorders, known by the name of Diagnostic Criteria for Temporomandibular Disorders, it was only validated for adults.

The instrument consists of two parts. One is a questionnaire that tells us what the patient's pain is like and if there is a limitation in function. The other part is a guide to perform an examination on the patient and record the data in a kind of form. Then with a diagnostic tree (algorithm) the combination of the history and the clinical examination, leads us to know if the patient has temporomandibular disorders ”, Dr. Restrepo explained.

The teacher added that the criteria that existed to evaluate adults were difficult to use in children. With the work they started in 2015, they adapted the measurement parameters and then started testing. The tests included more than 100 children between the ages of 6 and 11, to whom new measurement criteria were applied, adapted by the researchers, which allowed this new instrument to detect temporomandibular problems.

At the academic level, we are opening a new branch of research in which disorders in children can be evaluated to carry out clinical prevention treatments from an early stage, hoping for better results to manage these problems when the person reaches adulthood.”, Said Natasha Suárez Carvajal, a dentist who accompanied the investigation in its testing stage.

The participation of the Faculty of Psychology was in charge of the teacher Nadia Moratto Vásquez, who participated in the formulation of the questionnaires of questions that were asked to the children and that allowed to analyze answers about possible imbalances.

The investigation spanned five years and was commissioned by the International Association for Dental Research (IADR), which in 2015 assigned the task to Dr. Claudia Restrepo, being a of the members of this association and who advocated having a specialized instrument for children. The results were published in March 2020 in Journal Of Oral Rehabilitation.

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