TMJ Syndrome: Is It Compensable?

Authors

  • Amy Doerrer BS RN,

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    • Amy Doerrer was a senior at Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, when she completed her internship at Crawford & Company Health and Rehabilitation in Harrisburg, PA. She presently is a vocational counselor on the head injury rehabilitation unit at The Rehabilitation Hospital in Mechanicsburg, Mechanicsburg, PA. Frances Figart is the medical services supervisor with Crawford & Company Health and Rehabilitation in Harrisburg, PA.

  • Frances Figart MA RN

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    • Amy Doerrer was a senior at Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, when she completed her internship at Crawford & Company Health and Rehabilitation in Harrisburg, PA. She presently is a vocational counselor on the head injury rehabilitation unit at The Rehabilitation Hospital in Mechanicsburg, Mechanicsburg, PA. Frances Figart is the medical services supervisor with Crawford & Company Health and Rehabilitation in Harrisburg, PA.


Crawford & Company Health and Rehabilitation, 1800 Linglestown Road, Suite 407, Harrisburg, PA 17110-3343.

Abstract

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome has only recently surfaced as a workers' compensation or auto accident claim in the insurance industry. It usually appears as a secondary problem to cervical injuries. Further research is needed to establish guidelines for determining whether TMJ syndrome is compensable, but a survey of healthcare practitioners who deal with TMJ—such as the one described in this article—can help in making a determination until guidelines are established. In early 1990, the American Academy of Craniomandibular Disorders and the American Dental Association published guidelines; however, these guidelines address only diagnosis and treatment (Independent Medical and Dental Consultants, Inc., 1990). Further information is needed concerning TMJ's causes and whether the condition should be compensated. Sixty survey questionnaires were sent out to dentists and oral surgeons to identify causes of TMJ, symptoms, diagnostic methods, and treatment. The primary question for which the survey sought an answer was how to judge whether a person with a cervical injury complicated by TMJ syndrome should be compensated for TMJ problems. The remaining questions and answers concerned the medical management of patients with TMJ syndrome.

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