Temporomandibular disorder in individuals with spinal cord injuries

J Spinal Cord Med. 2022 Mar 29;1-7. doi: 10.1080/10790268.2022.2046421. Online ahead of print.


Objective: This study evaluated Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD) in individuals with Spinal Cord Injuries (SCI) compared to individuals without physical disabilities.

Design: Cross-sectional.

Setting: International Fair of Technologies in Rehabilitation and Accessibility (REATECH) and School of Dentistry at the University of São Paulo (USP), Brazil.

Participants: In total, 19 patients with SCI and 19 patients without SCI (36.9 ± 11.4 years old) were examined by a calibrated examiner.

Methods: using the following parameters: cervical spine mobility, palpation of muscle groups of the head and neck, functional manipulation of the lateral and medial pterygoids, and joint palpation (Diagnostic Criteria). The pattern and amplitude of mandibular movements were determined during screening using the Helkimo index.

Statistical analyses: Student's t-test, chi-square, Fisher's exact and Shapiro-Wilk test were used.

Results: The groups did not differ in the presence of noise, pain, temporomandibular joint palpation, locking, dislocation, jaw pain, muscle sensitivity, or in pain, mobility of the cervical spine and functional manipulation. With respect to the jaw mobility index, the groups differed in range of movement (P = 0.020) and maximum right lateral movement (P = 0.007), with the worst values in the SCI group. The groups also differed in relation to lateral flexion in cervical mobility, in which the group without SCI presented better results (P = 0.046).

Conclusion: The Spinal Cord Injuries group showed higher levels of TMD in terms of range of movement, lateral flexion, and maximum right lateral movement, than the individuals without physical disabilities, demonstrating a clinical significance between cervical and mandibular disability in this group.

Keywords: Physically disabled; Spinal cord injury; Temporomandibular joint disorders.