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Papers of the Week

Papers: 30 Jan 2021 - 5 Feb 2021


Human Studies


PLoS One



The impact of Covid-19-related distress on general health, oral behaviour, psychosocial features, disability and pain intensity in a cohort of Italian patients with temporomandibular disorders.


This study aimed to understand the impact of COVID-19 distress on psychological status, features of central sensitization and facial pain severity in people with temporomandibular disorders (TMDs). In this prospective cohort study, 45 adults (19 chronic, 26 acute/subacute TMD) were recruited prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. Baseline assessment took place before the outbreak while a follow-up was performed immediately after the lockdown period. Multiple variables were investigated including age, gender, perceived life quality, sleep quality, anxiety and depression, coping strategies, central sensitization, pain intensity, pain-related disability and oral behaviour. COVID Stress Scales (CSS) were applied at follow-up to measure the extent of COVID-related distress. CSS were significantly higher in those with chronic TMDs compared to those with acute/subacute TMDs (p<0.05). In people with chronic TMD, the variation in anxiety and depression from baseline to follow-up was significantly correlated with scores on the CSS (r = 0.72; p = 0.002). Variations of the central sensitization inventory (r = 0.57; p = 0.020) and graded chronic pain scale (r = 0.59; p = 0.017) were significantly correlated with scores on the CSS. These initial findings indicate that people with chronic TMD were more susceptible to COVID-19 distress with deterioration of psychological status, worsening features of central sensitization and increased chronic facial pain severity. These findings reinforce the role of stress as a possible amplifier of central sensitization, anxiety, depression, chronic pain and pain-related disability in people with TMDs. Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov ID: NCT03990662.