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Temporomandibular disorders in adults

Steven J Scrivani, DMD, DMedSc
Noshir R Mehta, DMD, MS
Section Editors
Mark D Aronson, MD
Daniel G Deschler, MD, FACS
Deputy Editor
Daniel J Sullivan, MD, MPH


Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) are common, but they defy easy classification. TMD is classified as a subtype of a secondary headache disorder [1]. The goals of managing temporomandibular disorders are to alleviate pain and improve jaw function.

TMD is associated with substantial morbidity and affects individual work productivity and quality of life. In the United States, it is estimated that for every 100 million working adults, TMD contributes to 17.8 million lost work days annually [2].

This topic will review the epidemiology, pathogenesis, clinical manifestations, diagnosis, and treatment of temporomandibular disorders. The evaluation of temporomandibular joint dislocation is reviewed separately. (See "Reduction of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dislocation".)


The prevalence of and risk factors for temporomandibular disorders (TMD) have been assessed in different study populations. In one survey of adults in the United Kingdom, the prevalence of orofacial pain was 26 percent, with 6 percent reporting pain in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and 6 percent reporting preauricular pain [3]. Observational studies in patients with TMD have illustrated the following:

The prevalence of TMD is about 1.5 times higher in women than men [4,5].

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Jun 10, 2016.
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