An accurate diagnosis is imperative to finding answers and receiving successful treatment.
Here is the diagnostic procedure most often used, even though it will vary from office to office:
1. An INTERVIEW HISTORY is taken to discover when your pain or popping jaw started and any associated medical problems.
2. CLINICAL EXAMINATION is done around the jaw, head, neck shoulders and ears. Any tenderness in these muscle groups will be explored along with a check on your posture. There are also various muscle strength tests that can be performed.
3. BITE ANALYSIS measures and analyzes the way your teeth meet. The doctor may have you open and close while either listening with a stethoscope to pick up any clicking/popping joint sounds or by using instruments to measure joint sounds. Patterns of muscle mobility (how the joint moves) aids in the diagnosis.
4. X-RAYS or MRI's of your jaws will be taken to check the open, closed and resting positions. An MRI or CT scan may be suggested to rule out tumor and/or other causes. It also shows how the joint functions.
5. MODELS (casts or molds) of your teeth may be done for a study of your biting and chewing pattern. This is a plaster impression of your bite that enables dentists to study how your teeth come together.
6. STUDY AND ANALYSIS of your jaw movements and muscle activity might also be done.