Purpose: This retrospective cohort study in an asymptomatic nonpatient population evaluated the prevalence of specific morphologic changes usually associated with the presence of degenerative joint diseases (DJDs) using cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) and examined the associations between DJD and age, sex, and number of teeth present. Materials and methods: CBCT images (268 temporomandibular joints [TMJs]) of 134 asymptomatic patients were studied. Patient data were obtained from clinical records, and calibrated examiners interpreted the CBCT images. The presence or absence of traditional radiographic signs of DJD (erosion, generalized sclerosis, osteophytes, and subchondral cysts) in the condyle and articular eminence of each TMJ were evaluated. The data were submitted to bivariate (chisquare and Fisher exact tests) and multivariate (Poisson regression) analyses (α = 0.05).
Results: The sample was primarily composed of males (52.24%) and individuals aged ≥ 61 years (55.64%); 61.94% were partially edentulous with ≤ 12 teeth in the oral cavity. The most common DJD diagnoses were mandibular condyle osteophytes (30.22%) and erosion (12.69%), followed by articular eminence erosion (8.58%) and mandibular condyle subchondral cysts (7.09%). The bivariate analysis showed a statistically significant association between females and subchondral cysts (P = 0.007), between edentulous individuals and subchondral cysts (P = 0.008), and between individuals with ≤ 12 teeth and mandibular condyle erosion (P = 0.005). In the adjusted Poisson regression analysis, a significant association was found between DJD and sex (P = 0.015).
Conclusion: Despite the limitations of this study, the results show a high prevalence of morphologic changes usually associated with the presence of DJD in asymptomatic subjects. Osseous TMJ abnormalities were present mostly in females, individuals with a lower number of teeth, and older individuals.