TMD/Facial Pain Evaluation

What Is TMJ or TMD?

Temporomandibular disorder (TMD) is a common orofacial pain disorder, often referred to as “TMJ”.  TMJ is actually the abbreviation used for the temporomandibular joint or jaw joint.

Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD, TMJD) is a term which describes the dysfunction of the muscles of mastication (the muscles that move the jaw) and the temporomandibular joints.   There are many symptoms associated with this disorder.  Many of which most patients would not even think of being related to their jaw joints.

TMJ Symptoms

The most common symptoms that a patient can develop are pain, followed by restricted jaw movement, and noises from the temporomandibular joints (like pops or clicks) during jaw movement.  Other symptoms that most do not associate with TMD can be tinnitus (ringing of the ears), clogged or congested ears, headaches, neck pain, grinding, clenching, locked jaw, fracturing of teeth or restorations, and neck pain.   It is important to understand that patients may experience one, a few, or all symptoms when suffering with TMD.  The pain may arise suddenly and progress with fluctuating frequency and intensity over months to years. Temporomandibular joint dysfunction is a complex disorder that is thought to be caused by multiple factors.  Although TMD is not life-threatening, it can definitely affect a person’s quality of life due to the symptoms becoming chronic and difficult to manage.

Facial Pain

According to the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2005, approximately 7% of Americans suffer from facial pain each year. The term facial pain may be used to describe any unpleasant, annoying, or descriptive sensation in the facial region, including those coming from the oral cavity, dentition, maxilla, mandible, sinus, orbital, cranial, and nasal regions of the head and neck.

Chronic facial pain is one of the most challenging conditions for to diagnose and treat. It is usually of greater than 6 months’ duration, is unrelenting, and typically does not respond to conventional treatment with medications or dental procedures.

Facial pain, like other types of pain, can be complex and multidimensional and therefore clinical evaluation becomes an important aspect in the diagnosis. Many clinical specialties play a role in the diagnosis and management of facial pain. These include anesthesiologists, dentists, root canal specialists, oral and maxillofacial surgeons, facial pain experts, otolaryngologists, neurologists, neurosurgeons, physical therapists, psychiatrists, psychologists, and chemical dependency physicians.

Your Facial Pain Evaluation

Dr. Parisi is extensively trained in Oral Medicine which includes facial pain and TMD. At the initial consultation, patients will meet with Dr. Parisi. She will complete a comprehensive history of the symptoms and conditions, thoroughly review the medical history, social history, review of systems and medications. A complete clinical examination will be performed. 

Based on the patient history and clinical examination, an initial assessment will be made.  Diagnostic imaging and/or laboratory evaluation may be recommended.  Treatment recommendations will also be made including referrals to other providers if necessary.  Re-evaluation and continued care is recommended as needed. Dr. Parisi will continuously communicate with the patient’s referring doctors.

Dr. Parisi is committed to providing to providing truly comprehensive oral health services. With her experience, the doctor fully understands the connections between the mouth and the body. Her compassionate care will guide you to finding answers to oral conditions.