Symptoms and signs of temporomandibular disorders and oral parafunctions among Saudi children

N M A Farsi
Journal of Oral Rehabilitation 2003, 30 (12): 1200-8
This study aimed to record the prevalence of signs and symptoms of temporomandibular disorders (TMD) and oral parafunctions among Saudi children. A questionnaire and a clinical examination of signs and symptoms of TMD were performed on 1940 stratified randomly selected schoolchildren. The sample was divided into three groups, 505 with primary, 737 with mixed and 734 with permanent dentition. The prevalence of TMD signs was found to be 20.7% and the most common sign of TMD was joint sounds (11.8%). The second most common sign was restricted mouth opening (5.3%). Muscle and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain as well as deviation upon jaw opening appeared infrequently. TMJ sounds were significantly increasing with age (P < 0.05). TMD symptoms as reported by the parents were evident in 24.2% of the returned questionnaires (1113). The most common symptoms were headache (13.6%) and pain on chewing (11.1%). The incidence of headache was found to be significantly increasing from primary to permanent dentition (P < 0.01). No sex difference in the prevalence of any symptom was reported. Nail biting was the most common oral parafunction (27.7%) while bruxism was the least common (8.4%). All parafunctions except bruxism were significantly related to age. Cheek biting and thumb sucking were reported more in females than in males. The importance of a screening examination for symptoms and signs of TMD should not be overlooked in the clinical assessment of the pediatric patient.

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