How are temporomandibular joint disorders diagnosed?

Any problem that prevents the complex system of jaw muscles, ligaments, discs and bones from working properly may result in a painful temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. Diagnosis is an important step before treatment of TMJ disorders. Part of the dental examination includes checking the joints and muscles for tenderness, clicking, popping or difficulty moving. Your complete medical history may be reviewed, so it's important to keep your dental office records up-to-date. Your dentist may take x-rays and may make a "cast" of your teeth to see how the upper and lower teeth fit together. Your dentist may also request specialized x-rays for the TM joints. Depending on the diagnosis, the dentist may refer you to a physician or another dentist.

 There are not yet any standard tests to diagnose (TMJ) disorders.  A doctor will conduct a thorough assessment to determine whether you are experiencing discomfort from conditions such as, headaches, or sinus or ear infections. The doctor should take a detailed medical history, consider your symptoms, and examine your jaw, head, and neck. X-rays might be needed to determine if you have any fractures or misalignments.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.