Depression and TMD among elderly: A pilot study


  • Valéria C. Vilalta
  • Mateus Bertolini Fernandes dos Santos Piracicaba Dental School, Campinas State University
  • Vicente P.P. da Cunha
  • Leonardo Marchini



Clinical Assessment, Depression, Elderly, Research Diagnostic Criteria for Temporomandibular Disorders, Temporomandibular Disorder.


Objectives: Temporomandibular dysfunction (TMD) is a painful syndrome that affects orofacial region, with deleterious effects in patients’ quality of life. Several aspects of TMD among the elderly are still controversial in the literature. The aim of this paper is to verify the prevalence of TMD among the elderly in Taubaté – Brazil, and its possible association with other co-morbidities. Material and Methods: Sixty-eight elderly individuals, presenting an average age of 69.5 years (SD 8.5), participated in this study, 37 of which were female. The Research Diagnostic Criteria for Temporomandibular Dysfunction (RDC/TMD) was used to verify TMD and its possible association with other co-morbidities. Results: The studied sample presented a low prevalence of TMD according to RDC/TMD (10.3%). Women presented more non-specific physical symptoms than men (pain items included, p=0.016, x2 test). Depression and non-specific physical symptoms (pain items excluded) did not correlate with patients’ gender. Associations were found among depression and characteristic pain intensity (p=0.027, ANOVA), non-specific physical symptoms (pain items included, p<0.001), non-specific physical symptoms (pain items excluded, p=0.001) and chronic pain grade (p=0.004), whereas the more depressed the patients were, the higher were their pain scores. Conclusions: One can conclude that psychological factors, such as depression, were associated with TMD prevalence, thus reinforcing the need for a multidisciplinary approach for TMD treatment.






Clinical or Laboratorial Research Manuscript