generated from scoring the test, reports on the probable presence or absence of a TM disorder. This tells a person what is likely occurring. In addition, specific areas are described where physical problems and symptoms are occurring and mayh be clinically significant. These symptoms include:
- pain in the jaw joints and surrounding muscles
- the bite feeling off , uncomfortable or changing
- sounds and noises in the jaw joints
- locking of the jaw in an open or closed position
- deviation of the jaw(sideways movement) when opening or closing
- difficulties in moving the jaw through a full range of motion–either opening or sideways.
The TMJ ScaleTM also collects information about symptoms of other non-TMJ disorders of the head and neck, which may mimic a TMJ disorder and confuse the picture. Such problems include various types of headaches, sinus problems, ear infections, eye disease, disorders of the neck, spine and central nervous system. Not only can symptoms of these disorders appear or masquerade as TMJ disorders, but TMJ symptoms can sometimes hide these disorders. Recognizing the presence of Non-TMJ disorders is therefore an important part of a thorough evaluation. The TMJ ScaleTM indicates the probability that a Non-TMJ problems is present.
Over the years, doctors have learned that a person's physical health may be dramatically affected by high levels of stress and emotional problems. Such problems may contribute to the onset and maintenance of many physical disorders, and might even interfere in successful treatment. This is the case for TMJ disorders as well. Also, the experience of chronic pain can cause high levels of stress and complicating emotional problems such as depression. TMJ disorders are often associated with high levels of chronic pain. Chronic pain itself is associated with a high frequency of depression and anxiety.
It is important for someone suffering from a TMJ disorder to be alerted to these complicating factors so that good decisions regarding health can be made. For this reason, the TMJ ScaleTM screens for problems involving:
- Psychological and emotional factors
- Stress levels
- The possibility that the problem is or may become chronic
In addition to knowing whether or not a TMJ problem exists, it is also useful to have a measure of the severity of the problem. Therefore, the results of the TMJ ScaleTM are not only presented in descriptive form, they are also presented in numerical form. This is done by calculating a special number, called the Percentile Rank, for each of the 10 scales included in the TMJ Scale Report. The Percentile Rank, which can vary from 0 to 100, tells you how high your scale scores are compared to patients with TMJ problems. Comparing the severity of your problem to a large group of known TMJ sufferers can be a useful guide in making treatment decisions. Another benefit of numerical scores, is that they can be used to follow the course of a problem to determine if the problem is getting better, staying the same or getting worse. This can be accomplished by taking the TMJ ScaleTM more than once over a period of time. Many dentists use the TMJ ScaleTM in this way to help better define the progress and effectiveness of treatment.
For example, a Percentile Rank of 85 on the Pain Scale, means that the score was higher than the scores of 85% of TMJ patients. This also means that 15% of TMJ patients had a higher score on the Pain Scale. This allows the test taker to have a sense of how severe their problem is compared to patients with TMJ disorders. To the right of each Percentile Rank, an indication is given as to whether the score is clinically significant, borderline significant or not significant.
So, the TMJ Scale ReportTM allows a person to determine several different things:
- whether or not a TMJ disorder is likely to be present
- the severity of the TMJ disorder (if present)
- the types and severity of physical problems involved (problems with pain, bite, jaw joint, limited range motion)
- whether or not a Non-TMJ problem is likely to be present
- whether or not psychological factors and stress are significant, and if so, how severe.
- the probability of whether or not the problem is, or may become, a chronic (long term) problem
For more information on how to read and understand the TMJ Scale ReportTM, click here to view an Example Report.