A dentist does the following examinations if he suspects TMD:
Check jaw for pain or tenderness by feeling the area around the ear;
Listen for clicks, pops, or grating sounds while patient moves the jaw
Observe the range of motion of the jaw
Study facial symmetry, postural imbalances and nose deviation and
Check for teeth misalignment, missing teeth, faulty dentures and tongue position.
Along with these, the doctor may also recommend filming (radiography) of the jaws, the jaw joints and the teeth. The filming entails:
Taking an X-ray, called Lateral Cephalogram, done to:
assess the nature of a patient’s bite;
determine any airway obstruction; and
trace jaw placement;
Taking a wide-frame X-ray, called OPG, that shows both the rows of teeth. The X-ray helps determine the teeth status;
Taking a TMJ view from the left and right sides of the face in both open and shut positions;
Taking an MRI imaging to find if the TMJ disc is in the proper position during jaw movement; and
Taking a CBCT scan, which is done to check joint decompression; to measure airway volume; and to track other degenerative issues from a 3D perspective.