If a patient complains of chronic headaches, ear or jaw pain and you suspect temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, perform the tongue blade test.

Rest a tongue blade on the bottom teeth on either side. Instruct the patient to bite down. If there is malocclusion of the bite (a common cause of TMJ), the patient will not be able to hold both blades in place. — Kristen Johnson, NP, Savannah, Ga. (175-5)

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