Aims: To investigate whether a shortened dental arch (SDA), as identified by reduced posterior occlusal contacts, is a risk factor for the progression of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) intra-articular disorders (ID), as identified using imaging techniques. Methods: This multisite, prospective observational study with a mean follow-up period of 7.9 years had a sample of 345 participants with at least 1 temporomandibular disorder (TMD) diagnosis at baseline. SDA was defined as reduced occlusal posterior support due to lack of occlusal intercuspal contacts in the molar region on the left and/or right side. SDA was assessed at baseline and at follow-up with metalized Mylar Tape. The presence or absence of a TMJ ID and the specific TMJ ID diagnoses for baseline and follow-up images were established by a calibrated, blinded radiologist at each of three sites by using bilateral magnetic resonance imaging for soft tissue imaging for disc displacement and by bilateral multidetector computed tomography or cone beam computed tomography for hard tissue imaging for degenerative joint diseases. Wilcoxon rank sum test and linear regression analyses were used to test for an impact of SDA on TMJ ID status. Results: At baseline, TMJ ID status of either side was not significantly affected by the presence of SDA on the ipsilateral or contralateral side of the jaw (all P > .05). Furthermore, the presence or absence of SDA at baseline was also not a significant predictor for progression of the TMJ ID status between baseline and follow-up (all P > .05). Conclusion: The findings of this study suggest that there is no significant effect of SDA on progression of TMJ ID.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was supported by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research of the National Institutes of Health under Award Numbers U01DE013331 and U01DE019784. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health. The authors report no conflicts of interest.
- Intra-articular disorders
- Observational study
- Risk factor
- Shortened dental arch
- Temporomandibular joint