What are the characteristic findings on physical exam in TMJ syndrome?

Updated: Jun 02, 2020
  • Author: Vivian Tsai, MD, MPH, FACEP; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Characteristic findings on physical examination include the following:

  • Limitation of jaw opening (normal range is at least 40 mm as measured from lower to upper anterior teeth)

  • Palpable spasm of facial muscles (masseter and internal pterygoid muscles)

  • Unilateral facial swelling

  • Clicking or popping in the TMJ

  • Tenderness to palpation of the TMJ via the external auditory meatus (the tips of the fingers placed behind the tragi at each external acoustic meatus and pulled forward while the patient opens the jaw)

  • Crepitus over joint (in advanced disease)

  • Lateral deviation of mandible

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