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Abstract

Purpose: This study investigated the relationship of onset of independent walking, upper quadrant stability and head posture and their value as predictors of temporomandibular dysfunction (TMD). Method: Quasiexperimental nonequivalent posttest design study of forty-seven subjects, ages 9 to 29, who were symptomatic or asymptomatic for TMD. Age of independent walking was recorded; temporomandibular joint (TMJ) function was examined; strength of upper quadrant musculature was tested; scapulae distances from corresponding spinous processes were measured; and standing posture was assessed. Results: Significant differences in age of onset of walking, rhomboid strength, scapulae distance from the spinous processes, and head posture were found between groups of subjects presenting with symptomatic and asymptomatic TMD. Age of walking, scapulae distance and forward head posture correctly predicted presence or absence of TMD in 81% of study subjects.Conclusions: Early independent walking may negatively affect scapular stabilization, contributing to excessive forward head posturing, and later onset of TMD. Further research is indicated.

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