The aim of this study was to investigate the clinical course of masticatory function recovery following arthrocentesis. Patients with a unilateral condylar head fracture who underwent arthrocentesis for therapeutic reasons were evaluated and compared with patients with a unilateral condylar head fracture who did not undergo arthrocentesis. At 3 months after treatment, the occlusal contact area and maximum bite force in patients with a fracture treated with arthrocentesis were greater than in those who did not receive arthrocentesis at the same time points, although the differences were not significant. Moreover, at 1 and 3 months following arthrocentesis, mean (±SD) occlusal contact area (1 month: 1.99 ± 0.55 mm2, p = 0.01; 3 months: 2.90 ± 1.36 mm2, p = 0.03) and maximum bite force (1 month: 82.45 ± 15.04 N, p = 0.01; 3 months: 101.11 ± 14.53 N, p = 0.01) on the fractured side in patients who underwent that treatment were significantly reduced when compared with those on the non-fractured side. The authors conclude that if the priority is to avoid open reduction and internal fixation, then the arthrocentesis approach might be a less invasive alternative, albeit with the price of a prolonged healing interval.
- Mandibular condyle head fracture
- Masticatory function
- Maximum bite force
- Occlusal contact area