In order to study the relationship between morphological properties of the TMJ and the mathematically predicted force distribution in the TMJ, the geometric distribution of the joint space on top of the condylar surfaces was evaluated. Seven deep bite subjects and seven non-deep bite subjects were used, and the joint space in the maximum intercuspation and canine edge-to-edge positions was analysed in each group. Standardized images of the TMJ were taken with computed tomography (CT) using a mandible positioner. The comparative ratio of joint space (CRJS) between the maximum intercuspation and the canine edge-to-edge positions was calculated and summarized on the map of the mean morphological outline of the condyle. On the balancing-side condyle, the CRJS of small value was distributed mainly on the anterior edge of the condyle in the non-deep bite group, whereas, in the deep bite group, it was distributed on the centre of the condyle. On the working-side condyle, the small CRJS was distributed around the lateral pole of the condyle in the non-deep bite group, whereas, in the deep bite group, it was found around the posterior part of the condyle. The distribution pattern of CRJS on the upper surface of the condyle in the non-deep bite group was consistent with the results of previous studies on mathematical simulation of TMJ loading. From the results of this study, it was suggested that the distribution of mechanical loading on the TMJ in the eccentric mandibular position would be highly affected by the comparative ratio of joint space. As the comparative ratio of joint space would be highly affected by the condylar position, the analysis of the morphology of the TMJ in relation to mechanical joint loading, in a future investigation, should be carried out on specific mandibular positions in relation to the function of the TMJ to be studied.
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