Temporomandibular Disorders: Medical History and Physical Exam
Topic Overview Back to top
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.
References Back to top
Other Works Consulted
- Okeson JP (2011). Temporomandibular disorders. In ET Bope et al., eds., Conn’s Current Therapy 2011, pp. 1008–1011. Philadelphia: Saunders.
Credits Back to top
|Primary Medical Reviewer||Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||Arden Christen, DDS, MSD, MA, FACD - Dentistry|
|Last Revised||January 11, 2012|
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