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J Oral Rehabil. 1996 Nov;23(11):733-41.

Symptoms of the stomatognathic system in temporomandibular and cervical spine disorders.

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Department of Oral-Maxillofacial Surgery, Utrecht University, The Netherlands.


This study was performed to assess the prevalence of signs and symptoms of temporomandibular disorders (TMD) in patients with cervical spine disorders (CSD) and to compare patients with CSD and subgroups of patients with TMD with regard to the results of orthopaedic tests of the stomatognathic system. A group of 103 consecutive patients with signs and symptoms of CSD and a group of 111 consecutive patients with TMD were examined. All subgroups of TMD patients showed a significantly smaller range of motion than the CSD patients. Patients with TMD had limited mouth opening (< 40 mm) on active and passive mouth opening more often than CSD patients. TMD patients with myogenous problems reported oral habits more often than CSD patients, although no objective differences between CSD and TMD patients were found. Subgroups of TMD patients reported joint sounds, and pain on palpation and joint play tests of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) more frequently than CSD patients. Joint sounds on active movements, pain on palpation of the TMJ, and pain on joint play tests correctly classified 82% of the patients with TMD and 72% of the patients with CSD. In spite of the biomechanical and anatomical relationship between the neck and the stomatognathic system, the results of the study show that CSD patients have signs and symptoms of TMD comparable with those of the adult Dutch population. It was concluded that the function of the masticatory system should be evaluated in patients with neck complaints in order to rule out a possible involvement of the masticatory system.

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