Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders (TMD) are often very difficult to diagnose because it can often mirror a variety of conditions. Because there are often less-than-clear understandings of the causes and exact symptoms of TMD, as well as the surrounding muscles, health care professionals are often hesitant to diagnose this condition. Instead, they might diagnose a condition as something far different, but that fits the symptoms.

As a result, you won’t get the treatment you need to find relief from your discomfort or pain. By visiting Dr. Sara in North Scottsdale, we can help you find out the cause of your discomfort and if you do have TMD–a condition that is often overlooked from family physicians.

What is the difficulty?

Symptoms of TMD are characteristic of a number of other conditions, which can often make a diagnosis very difficult to determine. Some symptoms that might mimic the characteristics of TMD include:

  • Toothaches.
  • Sinus infection.
  • Ear infection.
  • Facial neuralgias.
  • Myofascial pain.
  • Headaches.

If pain in the jaw area is being experienced, tests will often be recommended to rule out or confirm the presence of any conditions, including TMD.

Finding the diagnosis

When conducting an examination of a patient that is experiencing pain in the TMJ region, a detailed health history will be taken. Through this health history, Dr. Sara will be looking for any injuries, traumas, procedures or conditions that may contribute to the symptoms.

Your temporomandibular joint will also be examined, along with the bones and muscles of the jaw, mouth, face, neck and head to note pain and tenderness, limited motion or locking of the jaw when opening, closing, or moving the jaw side-to-side. There is no standard, widely accepted test used to diagnose TMD, but there are several tests that might aid in the diagnostic process:

  • X-rays of the face, joint and teeth.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
  • Computed tomography (CT).

While most cases of TMD cannot be cured, there are treatment options available to help prevent the worsening of the condition and pain. The underlying cause of TMD does not need to be known to provide quality care if you are diagnosed with this condition.

Contact Dr. Sara at AZ Sleep & TMJ Solutions in North Scottsdale for more information on TMD and to see what is causing your pain.