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Minerva Stomatologica 2008 March;57(3):109-16


language: English

Salivary cortisol levels in young adults with temporomandibular disorders

Da Silva Andrade A. 1, Gamero G. H. 1, Pereira L. J. 2, Junqueira Zanin I. C. 3, Gavião M. B. 1

1 Department of Pediatric Dentistry, Piracicaba Dental School, State University of Campinas Piracicaba, SP, Brazil 2 Três Corações Dental School, Vale do Rio Verde University, Três Corações, MG, Brazil 3 Department of Oral Diagnosis Piracicaba Dental School State University of Campinas Piracicaba, SP, Brazil


Aim. Causes of temporomandibular disorders (TMDs) are multifactorial, involving both physical and psychological factors. The aim of this study was to evaluate the salivary cortisol levels in young adults with TMDs.
Methods. The Research Diagnostic Criteria (RDC)/TMDs were used to establish the diagnosis of TMDs regarding the physical (axis I) and psychological factors (depression and somatization; axis II). Young adults of both genders composed the TMDs males (21.7±2.21 years, n=10) and females (22.7±1.95 years n=10) groups, and 20 healthy matched controls composed the control male (22.5±1.96 years n=10) and female (22.4±2.17years n=10) groups. Saliva samples were collected immediately on awakening and at bedtime. The cortisol levels were measured by enzyme immunoassay.
Results. The female group with TMDs showed a significantly higher cortisol level (2.890±0.411 µg/dL) than the corresponding control group in the morning evaluation (2.470± 0.486 µg/dL). The depression scores were significantly higher for the female group with TMDs (1.3±0.18) in comparison with the control female (0.72±0.18) and male groups (0.51±0.13). The groups with TMDs showed significantly higher somatization scores (0.69±0.16 for males and 1.38±0.23 for females) in comparison with the controls (0.23±0.10 for males and 0.78±0.15 for females), these also being significantly higher for the females than males.
Conclusion. It was concluded that cortisol levels are higher in TMDs in females, who had elevated depression and somatization scores. The results infer that the evaluation of salivary cortisol could be a promising tool in the diagnosis of TMDs associated with psychological factors.

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