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Temporomandibular Disorders: Medical History and Physical Exam - Topic Overview

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:

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  • 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.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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    How Do I Measure Up? Get the Facts Fast!

    Number of Days Per Week I Floss

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    You are currently

    Only 18.5% of Americans never floss. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Floss removes food trapped between the teeth and removes the film of bacteria that forms there before it turns to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Try flossing just one tooth to get started.

    You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for 3 more days!

    You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily, but you're well on your way to making a positive impact on your teeth and gums. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for all 7 days!

    Only 50.5% of Americans floss daily, and good for you that you are one of them! Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Congratulations on your good oral health habit!

    SOURCES:

    American Dental Association, Healthy People 2010

    This tool is intended only for adults 18 and older.

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