Prague Med. Rep. 2022, 123, 101-112

Intervertebral Disc Degeneration: Functional Analysis of Bite Force and Masseter and Temporal Muscles Thickness

Nicole Barbosa Bettiol1, Simone Cecilio Hallak Regalo1,2, Flávia Argentato Cecilio1, Lígia Maria Napolitano Gonçalves1, Paulo Batista de Vasconcelos1, Claire Genoveze Gauch Lopes1, Lilian Mendes Andrade1, Isabela Hallak Regalo1, Selma Siéssere1,2, Marcelo Palinkas1,2

1Department of Basic and Oral Biology, School of Dentistry of Ribeirão Preto, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
2Department of Neuroscience and Behavioral Sciences, Faculty of Medicine of Ribeirão Preto, University of São Paulo; National Institute and Technology – Translational Medicine (INCT.TM), São Paulo, Brazil

Received January 27, 2022
Accepted April 11, 2022

Intervertebral disc degeneration is a pathological condition associated with the intervertebral disc and is related to functional alterations in the human body. This study aimed to evaluate the maximum molar bite force and masseter and temporal muscles thickness in individuals with intervertebral disc degeneration. Thirty-two individuals were divided into two groups: those with degeneration of intervertebral discs (n=16) and those without degeneration (n=16). The maximum molar bite force (on the right and left sides) was measured using a dynamometer. Masseter and temporal muscle thickness during mandibular task rest and dental clenching in maximum voluntary contraction were analysed using ultrasound. Significant differences in the left molar bite force (p=0.04) were observed between the groups (Student’s t-test, p<0.05). The intervertebral disc degeneration group had a lower maximum molar bite force. No significant differences in muscle thickness were observed between the masseter and temporal muscles in either group. However, based on clinical observations, the group with intervertebral disc degeneration presented less masseter muscle thickness and greater temporal muscle thickness in both mandibular tasks. Degenerative disease of the intervertebral discs promoted morphofunctional changes in the stomatognathic system, especially in maximum molar bite force and masticatory muscle thickness. This study provides insight into the interaction between spinal pathology and the stomatognathic system, which is important for healthcare professionals who treat patients with functional degeneration.


This study was supported by the Fundação de Amparo a Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP, Brazil), and National Institute and Technology – Translational Medicine (INCT.TM), São Paulo.


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