Full front mouth

Patients with temporomandibular disorders rely on clinicians to alleviate their severe pain and discomfort. Learn how to properly evaluate and treatment plan for painful TMD cases in the new Spear Study Club module Tracy – Treatment Options for Injured Jaw Joints.

Having a realistic discussion with patients about risk factors and treatment options for common TMD cases can be challenging if doctors don’t understand the anatomy of the temporomandibular joints and how to evaluate them.

As the second-most commonly occurring musculoskeletal condition to chronic back pain, TMD affects approximately 5-12% of the population, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.

“There are so many patients in our practices who present with changes in the jaw joints, and many times, we don’t know if a nightguard, a bite appliance or an occlusal appliance will help that type of patient,” said Dr. Jim McKee, the Spear Resident Faculty member who teaches the new study club module.

“We have to make sure we understand what type of joint we are treating so we can better understand the risk factors and communicate those with our patients,” Dr. McKee said.

The “Tracy” module highlights normal and commonly seen injured jaw joints and explains how TMD will impact treatment planning and prognosis discussions with patients. This case highlights a new patient who asks for a nightguard to fix her grinding jaw joint that used to make clicking and popping noises in her childhood.

This module will leave club members more confident in their ability to:

  • Identify the three main clinical presentations of TMJs
  • Discuss risk factors of injured joints based on soft and hard tissue anatomy
  • Gain confidence in explaining injured TMJ treatment options to patients