Purpose: The aim was to clarify the associations among subjective symptoms, clinical signs
of temporomandibular disorders (TMD), and radiographic findings in the mandibular
condyles of elderly people during a 5-year follow-up. Materials and Methods: As part of a
comprehensive medical survey of a random sample born in 1904, 1909, and 1914
(Helsinki Aging Study), 364 subjects living in Helsinki participated in the dental part of the
examination during 1990 and 1991; after 5 years, 103 of these were reexamined.
Comprehensive data on TMD were available for 94 subjects, and radiographic data were
available for 88. TMD were assessed by Helkimo’s anamnestic and clinical indices, and
radiographic status was assessed by panoramic radiographs. Results: During the 5-year
follow-up, reported anamnestic symptoms of TMD for men changed little (9%); among
women, the change from baseline was 42%. When the unchanged indices were compared,
the gender difference was obvious. At baseline, 5% of the women, but no men, had severe
signs (clinical index III) of TMD. At the end of follow-up, none showed severe signs.
Comparison of radiographic findings between baseline and follow-up showed no
differences, nor did differences appear in associations between radiographic findings and
anamnestic or clinical indices. Conclusion: During the 5-year follow-up, signs and
symptoms of TMD in these elderly individuals became milder or vanished. The radiographic
status of the condyles remained stable, and no association appeared between
radiographic findings and signs and symptoms of TMD. Int J Prosthodont 2003;16:631–634.