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Screening & Diagnosis

Dr. Steed will screen for signs and symptoms.  She will:

  • Review patient medical and dental history, including medications recently taken as well as other involved health care providers 
  • Determine how long the signs and symptoms have been present
  • Determine the location of signs and symptoms present in the head, ear, jaw, and neck
  • Determine if there has been injury to the jaw
  • Assess the impact of dental treatment or surgical intervention such as intubation
  • Listen for any sounds the TMJ makes through palpation, use of the stethoscope, and use of the Doppler.
  • Measure the range of motion of the jaw including lateral movements
  • Examine the bite to reveal abnormalities in the alignment of the teeth and in the movement of the jaw
  • Palpate the muscles of the head, neck, face and involved ligaments and tendons

Dr. Steed can also determine if there are signs of chronic grinding of the teeth, by examining the wear patterns in the mouth. Feeling the joint while in motion will also assist her in her diagnosis. Carefully examining the muscles that open and close the jaw can reveal a muscular component of the pain, if it is present. X-ray studies are generally made in the office to evaluate the bony structures of the mouth and to show the position of the jawbone in relation to the joint socket, thus allowing Dr. Steed to determine whether or not function is abnormal and whether the disc is dislocated.

Due to the variance in development of anatomic structures involving the teeth, jaws and head, together with the many varied problems which may be involved with TMD, a thorough examination with appropriate tests, conducted by a doctor with advanced training in TMD, is essential in determining a proper diagnosis. Once this step is accomplished, proper treatment may be provided in an attempt to resolve the problem and to alleviate or greatly reduce the suffering. In doing so, permanent deterioration may be avoided.