Objective: A pathophysiologic link between malocclusions and temporomandibular disorders (TMD) is still being debated. This study correlates pain, joint sounds, and limited opening with a subset of orthodontic findings in different age groups.
Patients and methods: A case-control study employing 697 patients was conducted. Patients were subdivided into three age groups: 1 (n = 297): 7–12 years; 2 (n = 302): 13–18 years; 3 (n = 98): > 18 years. Orthodontic and TMD diagnostics were performed. A multivariate logistic regression approach was used to correlate malocclusions with TMD.
Results: A correlation between mandibular skeletal midline deviation and joint/muscle pain was found in group 1 (P < 0.001), 2 (P < 0.001) and 3 (P = 0.008). Furthermore, mandibular skeletal midline deviation was an independent predictor of joint sounds (P = 0.009) and limited opening (P = 0.014) in group 3.
Conclusion: Further longitudinal studies employing a group of patients with orthodontic treatment and a control group without treatment are needed to verify the potential of TMD prevention by early treatment for lateral force bite.