In all of our busy clinics and in an effort to remain efficient I have found this Temporomandibular Dysfunction (TMD) or TMJ screening tool very useful.


Is it TMD?

The main finding of the present study I referenced at the end shows it is possible to reliably distinguish TMD patients from dental pain, headache, and non-pain patients by means of a few simple questions and brief clinical exam. An advantage of the current screening tool is the high sensitivity and specificity demonstrated for this new tool. This screening tool can be useful for several purposes. First, it would be useful for all patients attending a dental clinic as a basic assessment before caring out any dental treatment that could potentially worsen a pre-existing TMD.

For those Physical Therapists looking to increase their referrals from Dentists, ENTs, Orthodontists, etc this would be a wonderful tool to share with them and take them through this simple process. The same can be said for PTs educating other practitioners in their practice so they can screen patients for TMD and get them to the PT, TMD specialist and finally and most importantly, the TMD patients who are identified may benefit from early intervention including preventative intervention, namely physical therapy.

The first item below is the TMD Short Screen Checklist that can be used in your clinic. The second is a flow diagram which basically illustrates the 3 step development of the TMD screening tool. Please let me know what you think after using this tool. I have referenced one article below in support of this TMD screening tool.

Study: Development and validation of a screening checklist for temporomandibular disorders.
Zhao NN1, Evans, RW, Byth K, Murray GM, Peck CC. J Orofac Pain. 2011 Summer;25(3):210-22

Michael Karegeannes
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