Adolescents with TMD/TMJ Temporomandibular Disorder Pain


Journal of Orofacial Pain
Spring 2011
Volume 25 , Issue 2

Adolescents with Temporomandibular Disorder Pain—The Living with TMD Pain Phenomenon

Ing-Marie Nilsson, DDS, Odont dr/ Thomas List, DDS, Odont dr/ Ania Willman, RN, PhD

Aims: To acquire a deeper understanding of adolescents’ experiences of living with temporomandibular disorder (TMD) pain.

Methods: Twenty-one adolescents with TMD pain, aged 15 to 19, were strategically selected from a group of patients referred to an orofacial pain clinic. The patients were examined and received diagnoses per the Research Diagnostic Criteria for TMD. One-on-one interviews that followed a semistructured protocol focused on the patient’s experiences of living with TMD pain. The interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim, followed by content analysis to obtain a deeper understanding of adolescents’ experiences living with TMD pain.

Results: Content analysis led to the overall theme “Adolescents with TMD live with recurrent pain; physical problems and daily demands form a vicious circle that causes adolescents to oscillate between hope and despondency.” The latent content forming the theme is grounded in three categories that evolved from 13 subcategories. For instance, five subcategories—headache; headache on awakening; jaw and tooth pain; constant thoughts of pain; and popping, cracking, clicking, and locking—formed the category that was labeled TMD pain is recurrent. The latent interpretation, ie, the meaning, of this category was that adolescents with TMD pain constantly thought about the pain, even when it was absent.

Conclusion: TMD pain is a substantial problem for affected adolescents and has consequences for all aspects of their lives. In this study, the adolescents were able to talk openly and introduce issues outside of the interview protocol. Qualitative analysis deepens our understanding of the adolescent patient with TMD pain. J OROFAC PAIN 2011;25:107–116

Key words: adolescents, content analysis, headache, interview, TMD pain

TMD/TMJ problems not only effect adults, but are a real common problem among adolescent adults. If your child has complained of headache; headache on awakening; jaw and tooth pain; constant thoughts of pain; and popping, cracking, clicking, and locking,  you should seek immediate medical attention. Dr. Stan Farrell has extensive training in the treatment of TMJ/TMD and the many comorbities that go along with these problems. Dr. Farrell is Board Certified with the American Board of Orofacial Pain and is the sole practitioner at his practice AZ TMJ, meaning that your child will only be treated by him. He focuses on non-invasive, conservative treatment methods without the use of narcotics. Visit for more information about our practice.