The literature regarding Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD) in Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS) patients is limited and still developing. Still, a brief review provides clear indications of a relationship between EDS, hypermobility, and TMD. Several studies have addressed TMJ hypermobility, generalized joint hypermobility, and TMD with various conclusions, but with a clear indication of the significant occurrence of TMD in EDS patients. Studies reported between 40% in one study and up to 100% in another, of patients presenting with multiple types of headache and/or unilateral or bilateral TMJ pain (1).
In a 2006 study of 114 EDS patients comprising several types with an equal number of controls, a higher proportion of the EDS patients experienced hypermobile joints during extreme mouth opening, poor mouth opening ability when biting into thick food, clicking, crepitation, and permanent locking of the jaw open and closed. Many of the EDS patients reported decreased hypermobility of the joint with age (2).
For those of you that have taken my course, you know I stress the value of utilizing the Beighton/Breighton Hypermobility Scale (3), not just to assess for systemic hypermobility, but for EDS and other chronic overlapping pain conditions that often get missed or looked at as separate musculoskeletal or GI issues, when they might be part of the bigger picture, like EDS.
Here is a great link to help you distinguish what is the difference between EDS from Hypermobility Spectrum Disorders Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (hEDS) vs. Hypermobility Spectrum Disorders
If you are not familiar with the updated 2017 International Consortium on Ehlers-Danlos Syndromes and Related Disorders, download this diagnostic checklist to help you assess for Hypermobile Ehlers Danlos Syndrome Diagnostic Criteria for Hypermobile Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (hEDS)
Finally, with regards to assessing hypermobile Temporomandibular joints, see one of my past Blogs from 2015 on TMJ Hypermobility: How to Assess
I hope you continue to find these blogs helpful if nothing more than to help you expand your thinking!
All the best in TMD and Orofacial Pain Care!
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