Updated: 8/8/2019

Temporomandibular Disorders

Review Topic
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2 2
  • A 31-year-old woman presents to her primary care physican for facial pain. Her pain is dull-like and worsens with mastication or fingernail biting. The pain begins at the jaw and radiates to the ear. Physical examination is notable for tenderness to palpation of the temporomandibular joint, along with a "knocking" sound when the jaw is opened.
  • Overview
    • a group of conditions that lead to abnormalities of the muscular and/or articular parts of the temporomandibular joint
  • Epidemiology
    • demographics
      • more common in women
      • greatest risk between 18-44 years of age
    • risk factors
      • rheumatoid arthritis
      • trauma
      • parafunctional chewing habits
        • fingernail biting
        • jaw clenching/bruxism
        • wind instrument playing
  • Pathophysiology
    • mechanism of injury
      • joint trauma
      • poor head and cervical posture
  • Associated conditions
    • other chronic pain disorders
      • migraine
      • fibromyalgias
      • myofascial pain syndrome
  • Prognosis
    • most patients are responsive to treatment and a small percentage of patients develop chronic temporomandibular joint pain
  • Symptoms 
    • facial pain
      • unilateral and typically dull-like
      • worsens with jaw motion
      • pain can radiate to the
        • ear
        • temporal region
        • mandible
        • posterior neck
    • headache 
      • ear or preauricular pain
        • radiates to the jaw, temple, or neck
    • neck pain
  • Physical exam
    • facial or jaw tenderness
    • limited mouth opening
    • temporomandibular joint (TMJ) noises with use
  • Radiography
    • indications
      • when there is suspicion for 
        • articular disc derangement
        • arthropathy
        • malignancy
    • comments
      • CT and/or MRI is used if radiography is abnormal or if there is severe pain on exam, cranial nerve involvement, or previous surgery in the TMJ
  • Trigeminal neuralgia
    • differentiating factors
      • pain is described as paroxsymal and severe stabbing pain
  • Conservative and lifestyle
    • avoiding triggers
      • indication
        • initial management
      • modalities
        • patients are counseled to adjust 
          • head posture
          • sleeping position
          • parafunctiona oral behaviors (e.g., pen chewing)
  • Medical and pharmacologic
    • nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs
      • indication
        • initially pharmacologic therapy for pain management
    • muscle relaxants
      • indication
        • pain upon palpation of the mastication muscles
  • Headache
  • Jaw deformity and dysfunction

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Questions (2)
Lab Values
Blood, Plasma, Serum Reference Range
ALT 8-20 U/L
Amylase, serum 25-125 U/L
AST 8-20 U/L
Bilirubin, serum (adult) Total // Direct 0.1-1.0 mg/dL // 0.0-0.3 mg/dL
Calcium, serum (Ca2+) 8.4-10.2 mg/dL
Cholesterol, serum Rec: < 200 mg/dL
Cortisol, serum 0800 h: 5-23 μg/dL //1600 h:
3-15 μg/dL
2000 h: ≤ 50% of 0800 h
Creatine kinase, serum Male: 25-90 U/L
Female: 10-70 U/L
Creatinine, serum 0.6-1.2 mg/dL
Electrolytes, serum  
Sodium (Na+) 136-145 mEq/L
Chloride (Cl-) 95-105 mEq/L
Potassium (K+) 3.5-5.0 mEq/L
Bicarbonate (HCO3-) 22-28 mEq/L
Magnesium (Mg2+) 1.5-2.0 mEq/L
Estriol, total, serum (in pregnancy)  
24-28 wks // 32-36 wks 30-170 ng/mL // 60-280 ng/mL
28-32 wk // 36-40 wks 40-220 ng/mL // 80-350 ng/mL
Ferritin, serum Male: 15-200 ng/mL
Female: 12-150 ng/mL
Follicle-stimulating hormone, serum/plasma Male: 4-25 mIU/mL
Female: premenopause: 4-30 mIU/mL
midcycle peak: 10-90 mIU/mL
postmenopause: 40-250
pH 7.35-7.45
PCO2 33-45 mmHg
PO2 75-105 mmHg
Glucose, serum Fasting: 70-110 mg/dL
2-h postprandial:<120 mg/dL
Growth hormone - arginine stimulation Fasting: <5 ng/mL
Provocative stimuli: > 7ng/mL
Immunoglobulins, serum  
IgA 76-390 mg/dL
IgE 0-380 IU/mL
IgG 650-1500 mg/dL
IgM 40-345 mg/dL
Iron 50-170 μg/dL
Lactate dehydrogenase, serum 45-90 U/L
Luteinizing hormone, serum/plasma Male: 6-23 mIU/mL
Female: follicular phase: 5-30 mIU/mL
midcycle: 75-150 mIU/mL
postmenopause 30-200 mIU/mL
Osmolality, serum 275-295 mOsmol/kd H2O
Parathyroid hormone, serume, N-terminal 230-630 pg/mL
Phosphatase (alkaline), serum (p-NPP at 30° C) 20-70 U/L
Phosphorus (inorganic), serum 3.0-4.5 mg/dL
Prolactin, serum (hPRL) < 20 ng/mL
Proteins, serum  
Total (recumbent) 6.0-7.8 g/dL
Albumin 3.5-5.5 g/dL
Globulin 2.3-3.5 g/dL
Thyroid-stimulating hormone, serum or plasma .5-5.0 μU/mL
Thyroidal iodine (123I) uptake 8%-30% of administered dose/24h
Thyroxine (T4), serum 5-12 μg/dL
Triglycerides, serum 35-160 mg/dL
Triiodothyronine (T3), serum (RIA) 115-190 ng/dL
Triiodothyronine (T3) resin uptake 25%-35%
Urea nitrogen, serum 7-18 mg/dL
Uric acid, serum 3.0-8.2 mg/dL
Hematologic Reference Range
Bleeding time 2-7 minutes
Erythrocyte count Male: 4.3-5.9 million/mm3
Female: 3.5-5.5 million mm3
Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (Westergren) Male: 0-15 mm/h
Female: 0-20 mm/h
Hematocrit Male: 41%-53%
Female: 36%-46%
Hemoglobin A1c ≤ 6 %
Hemoglobin, blood Male: 13.5-17.5 g/dL
Female: 12.0-16.0 g/dL
Hemoglobin, plasma 1-4 mg/dL
Leukocyte count and differential  
Leukocyte count 4,500-11,000/mm3
Segmented neutrophils 54%-62%
Bands 3%-5%
Eosinophils 1%-3%
Basophils 0%-0.75%
Lymphocytes 25%-33%
Monocytes 3%-7%
Mean corpuscular hemoglobin 25.4-34.6 pg/cell
Mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration 31%-36% Hb/cell
Mean corpuscular volume 80-100 μm3
Partial thromboplastin time (activated) 25-40 seconds
Platelet count 150,000-400,000/mm3
Prothrombin time 11-15 seconds
Reticulocyte count 0.5%-1.5% of red cells
Thrombin time < 2 seconds deviation from control
Plasma Male: 25-43 mL/kg
Female: 28-45 mL/kg
Red cell Male: 20-36 mL/kg
Female: 19-31 mL/kg
Cerebrospinal Fluid Reference Range
Cell count 0-5/mm3
Chloride 118-132 mEq/L
Gamma globulin 3%-12% total proteins
Glucose 40-70 mg/dL
Pressure 70-180 mm H2O
Proteins, total < 40 mg/dL
Sweat Reference Range
Chloride 0-35 mmol/L
Calcium 100-300 mg/24 h
Chloride Varies with intake
Creatinine clearance Male: 97-137 mL/min
Female: 88-128 mL/min
Estriol, total (in pregnancy)  
30 wks 6-18 mg/24 h
35 wks 9-28 mg/24 h
40 wks 13-42 mg/24 h
17-Hydroxycorticosteroids Male: 3.0-10.0 mg/24 h
Female: 2.0-8.0 mg/24 h
17-Ketosteroids, total Male: 8-20 mg/24 h
Female: 6-15 mg/24 h
Osmolality 50-1400 mOsmol/kg H2O
Oxalate 8-40 μg/mL
Potassium Varies with diet
Proteins, total < 150 mg/24 h
Sodium Varies with diet
Uric acid Varies with diet
Body Mass Index (BMI) Adult: 19-25 kg/m2

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(M2.ET.17.4753) A 33-year-old woman presents to her primary care physician complaining of right jaw pain for the last 3 weeks. She first noticed it while eating a steak dinner but generally feels that it is worse in the morning. She describes the pain as deep and dull, with occasional radiation to the ear and back of her neck. She denies any incidents of jaw locking. The patient also states that her husband has noticed her grinding her teeth in her sleep in the last several months. She has a past medical history of depression, for which she takes fluoxetine, and carpal tunnel syndrome, for which she uses a wrist brace. The patient works as a secretary. Her father passed away from coronary artery disease at the age of 54, and her mother has rheumatoid arthritis. At this visit, her temperature is 98.5°F (36.9°C), blood pressure is 135/81 mmHg, pulse is 70/min, and respirations are 14/min. On exam, there is no overlying skin change on the face, but there is mild tenderness to palpation at the angle of the mandible on the right. Opening and closing of the jaw results in a slight clicking sound. The remainder of the exam is unremarkable. Which of the following is the next best step in management? Review Topic | Tested Concept

QID: 108860

Nighttime bite guard




Plain radiograph of the jaw




MRI of the brain




Surgical intervention







L 3 D

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(M2.ET.13.1) A 24-year-old woman presents to the emergency department with a severe headache. She states it is 10/10 in intensity and states that it is associated with chewing. She describes it as a dull pain over the sides of her head. The patient is otherwise healthy and is not currently taking any medications. Her temperature is 97.0°F (36.4°C), blood pressure is 111/74 mmHg, pulse is 83/min, respirations are 13/min, and oxygen saturation is 98% on room air. Physical exam is notable for pain and tenderness over the mandibular and temporal region that is worsened when the patient opens and closes their mouth. Which of the following is the most likely diagnosis? Review Topic | Tested Concept

QID: 104431

Migraine headache




Subarachnoid hemorrhage




Temporal arteritis




Temporomandibular joint dysfunction




Tension headache



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