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Lyme disease misdiagnosed as a temporomandibular joint disorder.

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Abstract

Craniomandibular disorders cause many pleomorphic and seemingly unrelated clinical manifestations that mimic other more serious medical problems and thus can present physicians and dentists with a challenge that invites misdiagnosis and improper treatment planning. Conversely, misdiagnosis and ineffective treatment planning are facilitated when serious medical problems manifest a range of signs and symptoms that are clinically similar to temporomandibular joint muscle dysfunction. At times, the patient’s response to therapy may be the best method of corroborating a diagnosis, as illustrated in this report of a patient with
Lyme disease that was misdiagnosed as a temporomandibular joint disorder.
Lyme disease has already reached epidemic proportions in several parts of the United States and its geographic distribution is spreading. Because
Lyme disease is a life-threatening illness whose clinical manifestations can mimic temporomandibular joint/myofascial pain-dysfunction, it is the responsibility of every dentist who treats craniomandibular disorders to become familiar with the clinical presentations of
Lyme disease and more proficient in its differential diagnosis.

J Prosthet Dent. 1990 Jan;63(1):82-5. Case Reports

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