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Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Syndrome (cont.)

TMJ Syndrome Diagnosis

  • Medical history: In diagnosing your jaw problem, the doctor will ask the following questions:
    • What kind of pain do you have?
    • Is it an ache, a throbbing pain, or a sharp stabbing pain?
    • Is the pain continuous or intermittent?
    • Can you outline the area of pain on your face with your finger?
    • What helps to alleviate the pain? What aggravates the pain?
    • Do you grind or clench your teeth? Do you bite your nails or chew on any objects, such as pens or pencils?
    • Do you hold the telephone with your shoulder against your ear for a long time?
    • Do you chew gum often? For how long?
    • Do you have any oral habits that you have not mentioned?
  • Physical examination: During the physical examination, the doctor will examine your head, neck, face, and temporomandibular joints, noting any of the following:
    • tenderness (pain) and its location;
    • sounds, such as clicking, popping, grating;
    • the mandible (lower jaw) range of motion and whether it is easy to open and close and can move from side to side and forward-backward without any pain;
    • your assessment of pain on a scale from 0 (no pain) to 10;
    • wear and tear on the buccal cusps of the mandibular teeth, especially the canine teeth;
    • the rigidity and or tenderness of the chewing muscles;
    • how your teeth fit together: normal, open bite, crossbite, overbite, dental restorations, or skeletal deformity.
  • Imaging: X-rays may be taken of the mouth and jaw. CT or MRI scans may also be used. The MRI was designed for imaging of soft tissue and, therefore, will show the location of the TMJ disc in relationship to the jaw and skull bones. That will give the doctor a better idea as to the proper treatment approach.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/5/2014

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome »

TMJ, or temporal mandibular joint, is the synovial joint that connects the jaw to the skull.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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