Introduction: Evaluating the patient with temporomandibular joint disorders can be difficult and challenging for the clinician. Gathering the appropriate data, diagnosing the problem and formulating an accurate differential diagnosis is essential. Temporomandibular joint disorders may be muscular in origin (myofascial pain dysfunction) or have their primary etiology within the joint itself (internal derangement).
It is important for the clinician to systematically evaluate the patient in order to formulate an optimal treatment plan. The treatment must be multidisciplinary, however the first challenge for the clinician is to recognize the problem. Listening to the patient, taking a complete history, and performing a thorough clinical and radiographic examination are the first priorities.