© 2022 International Association of Oral and Maxillofacial SurgeonsThe aim of this study was to investigate the chondrotoxic effects of a single-dose intra-articular injection of articaine, lidocaine, and bupivacaine on the rabbit temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Twenty-four rabbits were divided into four groups: control (group 1), articaine (group 2), lidocaine (group 3), and bupivacaine (group 4). Synovial fluid samples and venous blood were taken to evaluate matrix metalloproteinase 3 (MMP-3) levels. One millilitre of local anaesthetic solution was injected in the study groups and saline solution in the control group. The rabbits were euthanized after 4 weeks and the mandibular condyles and articular discs were evaluated. On histological examination, the study group samples had irregular joint surfaces, decreased collagen, and a thinner cartilage layer. Apoptotic cells were evaluated with the TUNEL method. TUNEL-positive apoptotic cell counts were higher in all study groups compared to the control group, and the difference was significant (P < 0.001). The mean preoperative serum MMP-3 level for all groups was 5.71 ± 3.33 ng/mL, while the mean postoperative level was 22.61 ± 6.36 ng/mL; this difference was significant (P < 0.001). A single-dose intra-articular injection of local anaesthetic had apoptotic effects on chondrocytes, leading to degenerative changes in the TMJ articular structures. Articaine was found to have less harmful effects than lidocaine and bupivacaine. Intra-articular injection of local anaesthetics should be limited in the TMJ because of the potential toxic effects.