Osseous osteoarthritic-like changes and joint mobility of the temporomandibular joints and upper cervical spine: is there a relation?

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To compare 1) temporomandibular joint (TMJ) mobility between patients with and without reduced upper cervical spine (UCS) mobility and with and without TMJ osseous osteoarthritic-like changes, and 2) UCS osseous changes between patients with and without TMJ osseous osteoarthritic-like changes and with and without reduced UCS mobility.

Study design.

The study comprised 39 patients without pain from TMJ or UCS and with obstructive sleep apnea, 15 women (age range 26-72 years, mean 56.0) and 24 men (age range 27-71 years, mean 49.8). The range of motion (ROM) of the mandible and UCS was assessed clinically. Osseous changes of the TMJ and UCS were assessed by cone beam computed tomography. Differences were tested and adjusted for age and gender by multiple linear and logistic regression analyses.


The mandibular ROM was within normal range (45-64 mm) but the UCS ROM was reduced in 15 patients. Osseous TMJ and UCS changes were both found in 38.5% of the patients. Osseous UCS changes were found more frequently in patients with than without TMJ changes (P = .0003; odds ratio 21.9). No other significant results were found.


The present findings of comorbid osseous changes in patients with obstructive sleep apnea support a possible biomechanical relationship between the TMJ and the UCS.

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