Temporomandibular Disorders: Medical History and Physical Exam
If a temporomandibular disorder (TMD) is suspected, your dentist or primary care doctor will ask you to describe:
- Your jaw pain, including how long you have had it, whether you wake up with sore, stiff jaw muscles, and where you feel pain.
- Any recent change in the way your teeth fit together.
- Daily habits that may promote jaw pain—for example, whether your pain gets worse when you clench your teeth, talk, chew, swallow, or yawn.
- Recent or older injuries to your face.
- Whether stress at work or at home may be causing muscle tension.
- Your past medical history, including any conditions such as arthritis, and any previous dental problems.
During a physical exam, your health professional may:
- Touch (palpate) points around your jaw joint and move your jaw around.
- Check for pain and tenderness.
- Use a stethoscope to check for clicking or popping while your jaw is moving.
- Check for problems with swallowing, signs of teeth grinding, and whether your jaw is locking.
- Use a ruler to measure how wide you can open your jaw.
- Make a dental cast of your teeth to check to see how they line up together and if they are worn down.
Other Works Consulted
Okeson JP (2011). Temporomandibular disorders. In ET Bope et al., eds., Conn’s Current Therapy 2011, pp. 1008–1011. Philadelphia: Saunders.
|Primary Medical Reviewer||Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||Arden Christen, DDS, MSD, MA, FACD - Dentistry|
|Last Revised||January 11, 2012|