Incidence and prevalence of temporomandibular joint pain and dysfunction. A one-year prospective study of university students

Susanna Marklund, Anders Wänman
Acta Odontologica Scandinavica 2007, 65 (2): 119-27

OBJECTIVE: The aims of this study were to investigate the incidence and recovery of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain and dysfunction during a 1-year period, and to examine factors associated with TMJ signs and symptoms.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: The study population comprised 371 dental students examined at the start of education, out of which 308 were re-examined after 1 year. Case histories were collected with the aid of a questionnaire. The clinical examination involved TMJ mobility, TMJ pain, TMJ sounds, morphological and functional dental occlusion.

RESULTS: The 1-year incidence of TMJ signs and/or symptoms was 12%, with no statistically significant difference between men and women. Reported TMJ sounds (10%) and clinically registered TMJ pain (8%) reached the highest incidence rates. Approximately a quarter of those who had TMJ signs and/or symptoms at baseline had recovered at follow-up. Subjects with a non-symptomatic TMJ were significantly more often found among men and among those with bilateral contacts in centric relation, a normal transverse inter-maxillary relationship, and a stabile mandibular position in centric occlusion.

CONCLUSION: The 1-year incidence of TMJ pain and/or dysfunction was high among 1st-year university students. The persistence of signs and symptoms during the observation period was related to gender, while incidence and disappearance of symptoms were not. Dental occlusion was not rejected as a possible concurrent factor in relation to TMJ pain and/or dysfunction among university students.

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