An extensive consultation and evaluation to identify the actual cause of your problem and to develop an appropriate treatment plan is required. This involves a comprehensive patient history, examination, imaging and diagnostic anesthesia. A physical examination of the muscles of the head, face, neck and shoulders is performed to identify muscle spasms that can transfer pain to other areas. Range of motion tests, x-rays, sonograms, and EMG (Electromyograms – electrical testing of muscles) can also help in reaching an accurate diagnosis.
Diagnosing complex TMJ problems requires skills and knowledge from numerous disciplines including orthopedics of the head and face, a comprehensive understanding of jaw function and many years of experience. Reaching an accurate diagnosis and developing an effective treatment plan may also involve working with specialists including neurologists, rheumatologists, Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialists, oral surgeons, orthopedists, osteopaths and physical therapists.
Some of the common diagnoses that are associated with TMD include:
- Myofascial pain
- Myalgia (muscle pain)
- Myositis (muscle inflammation)
- Fibromyalgia (FMS) generalized muscle pain throughout the body associated with poor sleep
- Muscle spasm
Bone and Joints Disorders
- Joint inflammation
- Cartilage displacement
- Clicking and popping sounds in the jaw
- Jaw locking (both open and closed)
- Jaw fracture
- Bone spurs
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Psoriatic arthritis
- Condylar resorption
Unfortunately, neither the American Dental Association nor the American Medical Association has approved any specialty in TMD or facial pain at this time. There is movement toward approval and hopefully such a specialty will soon exist. It certainly is needed so that the public can have more confidence in the diagnosis and treatment of this disorder and insurance companies can improve reimbursement.