Temporomandibular joint alterations have been associated with abnormal mandibular movements in the open/close cycles and in the laterotrusive border movements. The quantitative analysis of these movements could allow a better or earlier diagnosis for patients and offer some insight into the pathophysiology of the disorder. Maximum opening and mandibular laterotrusive border movements were studied and measured in a group of 165 patients with a considerable lateral deviation (equal to or greater than 5 mm) in maximum opening. Movements were directly performed by the patients and recorded with a mandibular kinesiograph. The slope of the lateral guidance (frontal plane projection) was measured in the first millimeters of motion and started from the maximum intercuspal position. On average, slopes were significantly flatter on the same side with the opening deviation. These slopes were significantly flatter than previously published physiologic ranges, whereas contralateral slopes were similar to normal references. The results may be explained by a correlation between the insufficient lateral protection and a temporomandibular mandibular joint dysfunction (ipsilateral low mobility).
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