Application of superficial moist heat has been shown to have a beneficial effect on Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD) symptoms and is often recommended for patients with this disorder. A review of the literature shows that few studies have compared the effects of moist to dry heat Throughout this study, moist and dry heat were applied through a commercial heating pad alternately for 20 minute intervals. The application sequence was randomized and all individuals received both moist and dry modalities. Intraoral and extraoral thermocouples were positioned on the mid-cheek area of 46 volunteers to record temperature readings. Dry and moist heat applications were equally effective in both maximum tissue temperature rise and the rate of thermal transfer (p > 0.05). However, in a small number of subjects moist heat was preferred. As there seems to be little difference between using moist rather than dry heat, patients may be counseled to employ the superficial heating option that: 1. is an individual's personal preference or 2. improves convenience and optimizes compliance.
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