Helps Patient Seek Treatment

A 16 year old white female in northern Pennsylvania was experiencing extreme jaw pain on both sides of her face near the ears in 1989.

She had orthodontics for straightening her teeth six months ago. She had been experiencing non-painful clicking and popping in both ears for 18 months. She had not had any accidents or trauma to her head or neck. The pain had been getting worse the last few months, and she could not open her mouth wide without pain and was having problems chewing.

This person took the TMJ Scale and the results indicated she had a TMJ problem. The report showed she had symptoms which were in the 64th percentile compared to other TMJ patients, with static pain, pain on pressing the face muscles, inability to move the jaw all the way, and a mechanical problem within the TM joint. She did not have a non-TMJ problem, and her stress scale was not above average.

With this information she was seen by a dentist specializing in TMJ and had a physical exam and x-rays. She was diagnosed with “chronic disk displacement without reduction,” which meant that the disk which cushions the jaw as it connects to the cranium was out of place, cause her not to be able to open her jaw more than a little.

She had a splint made for her, a soft rubber mouthpiece that fit over her teeth. She wore this for three months and it slowly moved the jaw back a little bit to “recapture” the disk into the correct position. Then she wore another type of splint for three to move the jaw slowly back into its original position. During the last six weeks, the appliance was worn only at night, as she gradually got back to normal. She reported feeling 100% better.

The dentist then asked her to take another TMJ Scale. The results showed that instead of being at the 64th percentile for TMJ patients, her symptoms were below the 1st percentile. All the other scales were now well below average.

The TMJ Scale had helped her to decide to seek treatment for her TMJ problem, helped the dentist to confirm his diagnosis, and then demonstrated that the patient had achieved a good result. (published in the Journal of Craniomandibular Practice, 1990)

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