Document Detail

An index for the measurement of normal maximum mouth opening.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  14653940     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to evaluate the relationship between the width of 3 or 4 fingers of one hand and maximum mouth opening (MMO) in healthy subjects. METHODS: One hundred and forty dental students (age 21 to 42 years, mean 27.4 years) participated in the study. The ability of each subject to position 3 or 4 fingers, vertically aligned, between the upper and lower central incisors up to the first distal interphalangeal folds, was documented. Measurements of MMO and the width of 3 fingers (index, middle and ring fingers) and 4 fingers (index, middle, ring and little fingers) were recorded. RESULTS: All subjects were able to position 3 fingers (of both the right and left hands) between the upper and lower central incisors. Only 12 subjects were able to position 4 fingers (both right and left) in this way. There were no significant differences among the measurements of MMO (mean 48.8 mm), 3 fingers of the right hand (mean 47.3 mm) and 3 fingers of the left hand (mean 47.0 mm) (p > 0.05). However, MMO was significantly different from the width of 4 fingers of the right hand (mean 58.1 mm) and 4 fingers of the left hand (mean 57.5 mm) (p < 0.001). Moreover, there was a strong positive correlation between MMO and the 3-finger measurements (p < 0.0001). CONCLUSIONS: These findings strongly suggest that the ability to position 3 fingers in the mouth during dental examination is a convenient index for assessing normal MMO.
Khalid H Zawawi; Emad A Al-Badawi; Silvia Lobo Lobo; Marcello Melis; Noshir R Mehta
Publication Detail:
Type:  Evaluation Studies; Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Journal (Canadian Dental Association)     Volume:  69     ISSN:  1488-2159     ISO Abbreviation:  J Can Dent Assoc     Publication Date:  2003 Dec 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2003-12-05     Completed Date:  2003-12-24     Revised Date:  2004-11-17    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7907605     Medline TA:  J Can Dent Assoc     Country:  Canada    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  737-41     Citation Subset:  D; IM    
Boston University, Goldman School of Dental Medicine, Massachusetts, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Analysis of Variance
Mouth / physiology*
Range of Motion, Articular
Reference Values
Reproducibility of Results
Statistics, Nonparametric
Temporomandibular Joint / physiology*
Temporomandibular Joint Disorders / diagnosis*

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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