INTRODUCTION: The use of modern teaching methods and
learning tools by educators to ensure competent graduates
has been encouraged. At the Department of Odontology,
University of Pretoria, School of Dentistry, four diagnostic
screening tests were tested as learning tools, in order to
teach undergraduate dental students to diagnose abnormalities
affecting the osseous components and associated
muscles of mastication of the temporomandibular joint
(TMJ). These screening tests are known as joint play, end
feel, static pain and dynamic pain.
OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to determine if dental
students would be able to diagnose abnormalities affecting
the osseous components and associated muscles of
mastication of the TMJ using these four screening tests, as
well as to compare their diagnosis with the diagnosis of a
METHODS: One hundred joints were randomly examined for
abnormalities by 50 dental students and a prosthodontist.
The diagnoses were recorded on a diagnostic form and entered
into an electronic Microsoft Excel ® database.
RESULTS: Of the 100 joints examined, 78 of the diagnoses
made by the students were in agreement with that of the
prosthodontist, which is highly significant (p < 0.001). Conclusion:
The tests were used successfully by the majority of
the students to make a correct diagnosis.