No heritability of temporomandibular joint signs and symptoms

Bryan S Michalowicz, B. L. Pihlstrom, James S Hodges, T. J. Bouchard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


The causes of temporomandibular joint (TMJ)-related signs and symptoms are largely unknown. We tested the hypotheses that these signs and symptoms, as well as oral parafunctional habits, are substantially heritable. Questionnaire and clinical data were collected from 494 twins, including pairs of reared-apart and reared-together monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins. A history of joint-area pain, joint noises, and clenching and grinding habits was scored as present or absent. Twenty-nine percent of the population experienced at least one sign or symptom. Nearly one-quarter of subjects clenched or ground their teeth, and 8.7% reported a history of joint-area pain. Pain was associated with clenching, grinding, and joint noises. MZ twins were no more similar than DZ twins for any outcome, suggesting that genetic factors do not influence these traits in the population. Reared-together MZ twins were no more similar than reared-apart MZ twins, suggesting a negligible effect of the family environment on these outcomes. Environmental factors unique to each twin appeared to be the major determinants of variation in this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1573-1578
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of dental research
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2000


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