Mechanobehavioral Scores in Women With and Without TMJ Disc Displacement

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Cartilage fatigue may be a factor in the precocious development of degenerative changes in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). This cross-sectional study estimated potential for cartilage fatigue via TMJ energy densities (ED) and jaw muscle duty factors (DF), which were combined to calculate mechanobehavioral scores (MBS) in women with (+) and without (-) bilateral TMJ disc displacement (DD). All subjects gave informed consent to participate and were examined using Diagnostic Criteria (DC) for Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD) and magnetic resonance (MR) and computed tomography (CT) images. Forty-seven subjects were categorized into +DD (n = 29) and -DD (n = 18) groups. Dynamic stereometry (MR images combined with jaw-tracking data) characterized individual-specific data of TMJ stress-field mechanics to determine ED (ED = W/Q mJ/mm3, where W = work done, Q = volume of cartilage) during 10 symmetrical jaw-closing cycles with a 20-N mandibular right canine load. Subjects were trained to record masseter and temporalis electromyography over 3 days and 3 nights. Root mean square electromyography/bite-force calibrations determined subject-specific masseter and temporalis muscle activities per 20-N bite-force (T20 N, μV), which defined thresholds. Muscle DF (DF = % duration of muscle activity/total recording time) were determined for a range of thresholds, and MBS (ED2 × DF) were calculated. Intergroup differences in ED, DF, and MBS were assessed via analyses of variance with Bonferroni and Tukey honest significant difference post hoc tests. Average ED for contralateral TMJs was significantly larger (P = 0.012) by 1.4-fold in +DD compared to -DD subjects. Average DF were significantly larger (all P < 0.01) for +DD compared to -DD subjects by 1.7-, 2.5-, and 1.9-fold for day, night, and overall, respectively. Daytime MBS were significantly larger (all P < 0.04) by up to 8.5-fold in +DD compared to -DD subjects. Significantly larger ED, DF, and MBS were shown in women with compared to women without bilateral TMJ DD.