Testing & Diagnosis for Temporomandibular Joint Disorders (TMD) in Children

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While there is no standard test to identify TMD, your child’s symptoms and a physical exam will be adequate for diagnosis. 

The physical examination includes:

  • Feeling your child's jaw joints and surrounding muscles for discomfort
  • Listening for clicking, popping or grinding sounds
  • Examining your child’s jaw movement
  • Examining your child’s mouth and teeth 

The doctor will also review your child’s dental and medical history before making a diagnosis and starting treatment. If more information is needed, your child’s doctor may order any of the following tests: 

  • Panoramic X-ray: this X-ray uses small doses of radiation to produce an image of your child’s mouth, teeth and jaws
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging): a radiographic exam that uses a large magnet, radio waves and a computer to produce two- and three-dimensional images of your child's jaw, muscles and mouth
  • CT scan (computed tomography): a radiographic exam that uses X-ray equipment and powerful computers to create detailed, cross-sectional images of your jaw and mouth. 

After we complete all necessary tests, Boston Children’s experts from Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Dentistry or Otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat) will review the results and decide on the best course of treatment for your child.

We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

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