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Keywords:

  • temporomandibular disorders;
  • temporomandibular joint;
  • headache;
  • myofascial pain dysfunctio

Patients with temporomandibular disorders frequently suffer from headache. The purpose of this study was to develop a simple screening exam which would allow the physician to identify headache patients with coexisting temporomandibular disorders. Twenty-eight migraine and 27 tension headache patients were identified by board certified neurologist and then were examined by a dentist for signs of temporomandibular disorders. These patients were then compared to 63 patients with temporomandibular internal derangements and 62 patients with myofascial pain dysfunction. Comparisons of the clinical signs showed that the temporomandibular internal derangement and myofascial pain dysfunction patients differed significantly from the headache patients in regards to specific signs of jaw dysfunction. The presence of reciprocal clicking of the temporomandibular joint or pain with maximum jaw opening and pain upon palpation of the temporomandibular joint distinguished temporomandibular internal derangement patients from headache patients. These criteria have a sensitivity of 92% and specificity of 91%. Pain on palpation over the temporomandibular joint, or pain with maximum jaw opening using passive stretch, and pain with lateral movement of the jaw, distinguished myofascial pain dysfunction patients from headache patients. These criteria have a sensitivity of 77% end specificity of 85%. By using these screening tests, the physician can identify the concurrent existence of temporomandibuler disorders in headache patients and triage the patient to a clinician knowledgeable in the diagnosis and treatment of temporomandibular disorders for further evaluation.