The use of Wharton’s jelly allografts may be able to decrease healing times and improve outcomes in treating temporomandibular joint (TMJ) defects, according to a study published in the Journal of Dentistry.
Board-certified sleep medicine and craniofacial pain specialists Ryan Robinson, DDS, and Rachel Reynolds, FNP-C, of The Pain and Sleep Therapy Center presented a novel case series studying the application of Regenative Labs’ Wharton’s jelly, an umbilical cord connective tissue, to the structural tissue defect of the temporomandibular joint.
“We’ve seen a decrease in terms of healing time for patients when we’ve compared it to other types of injections that we’ve used previously for patients with temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD). We’ve also seen improvement in outcomes for patients who’ve been utilizing Wharton’s jelly in conjunction with other types of modalities that we’ve used for these patients,” says Reynolds in a release.
Nearly 10 million patients experience TMD in the United States each year. These patients often experience symptoms ranging from joint arthralgia, displacement, degenerative arthritis, limited and painful mouth opening, painful subluxation of the joint, joint clicking, and referred pain to the periauricular area or head and neck muscles. Although there are many treatments for TMD, therapy specific to degenerative pathology of the TMJ disc itself is limited in scope and therapeutic effect.
Standard treatment includes simply resting the jaw muscles and avoiding use, massage, physical therapy, medication management, and surgery. The rising annual number of surgeries and high out-of-pocket costs for patients are enough to implement conservative protocols alternative to invasive surgical repair of the TMJ, according to the researchers.
“Today, we see many physicians who are wary about treating TMJ and often revert to standard surgical treatments. Showing the outcomes that we have for patients will hopefully help to bolster more physicians to join us in using more conservative treatments. Our patients deserve more options,” says Reynolds in the release.
The five patients in this case series presented with chronic refractory TMD, specifically from severe degeneration of the structural tissues within the joint and had failed standard-of-care practices for at least three months. After one application of Regenative’s Wharton’s jelly allograft, the patient’s pain improved by an average of 75% after 90 days.
“A few years ago, we started using PRF (platelet-rich fibrin) therapy in the jaw joint, and we thought that was revolutionary. We have seen amazing results; however, the protocol involves additional technology like a centrifuge and consists of multiple rounds of injections to get the desired outcome. It also subjectively eliminates some patients from treatment who are opposed to blood draws on themselves,” says Robinson in a release. “With Wharton’s jelly, there is only one injection, which makes the application much easier, more convenient, and less invasive to the patient. What’s most exciting is the results we are seeing. We’re seeing much better patient outcomes than any other modality we’ve ever treated. We’re really excited to continue the use of Wharton’s jelly in our Pain and Sleep clinic and it soon becoming a routine standard for our patients who can benefit.”
To advance the necessary research and fill the need for non-surgical alternatives, Regenative has been tracking data in its retrospective data repository in which physicians across specialties submit patient data as they track patient outcomes up to 120 days after the patient receives an application of Regenative’s products, like its Wharton’s jelly allografts.
Regenative has collected data from clinics nationwide on Wharton’s jelly homologous-use applications around the body. Still, very few have documented data on the jaw joint, and Regenative is excited to highlight this unique procedure in the first of many publications on regenerative orthodontic medicine, according to a release from the company.
“Given the high incidence rate and few effective treatment options for defects in the temporomandibular joint, this study aims to provide a new, promising alternative intervention for patients who have failed all other standard-of-care treatments. This is just one of many homologous-use applications in regenerative medicine to improve patient outcomes,” says Regenative CEO Tyler Barrett in a release.
Barrett and his team hope to enlist physicians to take part in studies regarding uncovered uses. Physicians will have their outcomes highlighted, furthering the understanding of regenerative medicine and uncovering new applications for this groundbreaking field of medicine.
“We’re doing the research at Regenative, and the results are very promising. We are calling on all physicians across the country to engage with us to advance the field of regenerative medicine,” Barrett says in the release. Practices that are interested can contact Regenative.