Anatomic disorders of the temporomandibular joint disc in asymptomatic subjects

Richard W Katzberg, Per Lennart Westesson, Ross H. Tallents, Christiana M. Drake

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

254 Scopus citations


Purpose: This study determined the prevalence and specific anatomic types of disc displacement in asymptomatic versus symptomatic subjects using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Patients and Methods: A detailed MRI assessment was performed on both temporomandibular joints (TMJ) in 76 volunteers and 102 successive patients. Attention was placed on the functional aspects of disc displacement with and without reduction and on the anatomic aspects of disc displacement in the anterior, lateral, medial, anterolateral, and anteromedial directions. These assessments were made by radiologists blinded to the clinical information. Results: Disc displacement was found in at least one joint in 25 of 76 (33%) of asymptomatic subjects and 79 of 102 (77%) of symptomatic subjects. The anatomic types of disc displacement between groups was not statistically significant (P = .55). However, there was a significant difference between asymptomatic and symptomatic subjects, with an odds ratio of 3.91 for disc displacement with reduction and 42.71 for disc displacement without reduction (P < .001). Conclusion: Although there was a 33% prevalence of disc displacement in asymptomatic volunteers, there was a highly significant difference in the prevalence of internal derangement in symptomatic subjects. Bruxing was statistically linked to TMJ disc displacement and could explain the anatomic variation in abnormal disc position.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)147-155
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Dentistry(all)


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