A Theoretical Analysis of Longitudinal Temporomandibular Joint Compressive Stresses and Mandibular Growth

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Objectives: To determine if temporomandibular joint (TMJ) compressive stresses during incisor biting (1) differed between growing children over time, and (2) were correlated with Frankfort Horizontal-mandibular plane angle (FHMPA, 8) and ramus length (Condylion-Gonion (Co-Go), mm). Materials and Methods: Three-dimensional anatomical geometries, FHMPA and Co-Go, were measured longitudinally from lateral and posteroanterior cephalographs1 of children aged 6 (T1), 12 (T2), and 18 (T3) years. Geometries were used in numerical models to estimate subject-specific TMJ eminence shape and forces for incisor bite-forces of 3, 5, and 8 Newtons at T1, T2, and T3, respectively. TMJ compressive stresses were estimated via two steps: First, TMJ force divided by age-dependent mandibular condylar dimensions, and second, modified by loading surfaces' congruency. Analysis of variance and Tukey honest significant difference post-hoc tests, plus repeated measures and mixed effects model analyses were used to evaluate differences in variables between facial groups. Regression analyses tested for correlation between agedependent compressive stresses, FHMPA, and Co-Go. Results: Sixty-five of 842 potential subjects had T1-T3 cephalographs and were grouped by FHMPA at T3. Dolichofacial (FHMPA ≥ 27°, n=36) compared to meso-brachyfacial (FHMPA, 27°, n=29) subjects had significantly larger FHMPA at T1-T3, shorter Co-Go at T2 and T3 (all P < .01), and larger increases in TMJ compressive stresses with age (P < .0001). Higher compressive stresses were correlated with larger FHMPA (all R2 ≥ 0.41) and shorter Co-Go (all R2 ≥ 0.49). Conclusions: Estimated TMJ compressive stress increases from ages 6 to 18 years were significantly larger in dolichofacial compared to meso-brachyfacial subjects and correlated to FHMPA and Co-Go.