The relationship between signs and symptoms of temporomandibular disorders (TMD) and bilateral occlusal contact patterns was investigated in 143 TMD patients (mean age: 34.0 ± 15.9 years; 38 male and 105 female). In addition to an interview regarding chief complaints and accompanying symptoms, various muscles and the temporomandibular joints were palpated bilaterally and occlusal analyses were made. Only 5 out of 108 paired variables were found to be significantly associated by using the chi-squared test. Medial pterygoid muscle pain on palpation showed significant associations with the occlusal contact pattern (P < 0.005), especially working side contacts (interocclusal tooth contacts on the working side) (P < 0.005), during contralateral excursions; sternocleidomastoid muscle pain on palpation showed a significant association with balancing side contacts (interocclusal tooth contacts on the balancing side) during ipsilateral excursions P < 0.05); shoulder stiffness and pain in the eye showed significant associations with balancing side contacts during contralateral excursions (P < 0.05). The results show only a weak relationship between some TMD symptomatology and bilateral occlusal contact patterns during lateral excursions. The findings suggesting the specific laterality of a few TMD signs and symptoms associated with particular occlusal contacts may deserve closer case-control study.
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