Case Study: Sports Injury

Example of the role the TMJ Scale can play in evaluation and treatment.

An 18 year old male suffered a facial injury during a basketball game. Shortly after the injury he could not open his left jaw joint and had pain on both sides of his jaw, pain in his ear, and headaches. He completed a TMJ Scale which showed he probably had a TMJ problem, with overall symptom intensity worse than 65% of TMJ patients. The report also indicated he had elevated pain, internal joint problems, and limited jaw opening ability. The Non-TM scale which screens for other non-TMJ disorder problems, was not above average. Also, his score on the Stress Scale was not elevated. He saw a local dentist who specializes in treatment of TMJ disorders and who prepared a soft splint. He wore this splint over his bottom teeth for five months. After that time he only wore the splint during sporting events, as directed by the dentist.

After five months the patient was asked to take another TMJ Scale by his dentist. The second report, according to the dentist, "displays the dramatic improvement reported by the patient." His percentile rank on the Global Scale, which measures the overall symptom intensity of a TMJ disorder, fell from 65% before treament to 8%, and all of the other scale scores were no longer elevated. The dentist also reported that the TMJ Scale demonstrated that treatment had been successful and "provided data to both the patient and insurers that Maximum Medical Improvement had been attained."

(This Case Study was published by: Steed, P.A., Clinical Application of Psychometric Analysis for Temporomandibular Dysfunction. The Functional Orthodontist, 13:32-39, Fall 1996.

To read more about the TMJ Scale and how to take the patient version of this test  click here

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