[Future research needs and strategies for orofacial pain and oral motor disorders].
Musculoskeletal disorders in orofacial region are known to induce mastication disability and decrease the patients' quality of life levels. Additionally, the prevalence of those disorders tends to increase in elderly. However, since the existing therapies are not fully effective and medical expenses for those disorders are expanding, a prompt solution is necessary especially in aging societies like Japan. In addition, investigations for those disorders are important, because the research findings would be useful for the investigation of similar disease in other organs. Therefore, it is possible to consider that they can directly associate with general health and the universality of prosthodontics. In order to solve the above problems, two different research strategies are desirable. First, to improve the current curative effect, the effectiveness of existing diagnostic system and treatment modalities should be evaluated using high quality clinical studies. Second, as the research strategies on a long-term basis, investigations, which target the pathology and the contributing factors in a biological point of view are essential. This article will discuss about the research strategy to elucidate the pathology and the factors, which play important roles in the disease mechanisms, based on the previous and ongoing physiological research findings. Furthermore, I would like to review the useful newly developed technologies for the research strategy and new research fields, to enhance the value of prosthodontics and discuss about our future research direction.
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