Eric L. Schiffman, DDS, MS

Professor, Department of Diagnostic and Biological Sciences

Eric L. Schiffman

Contact Info

Office Phone 612-625-5146

Fax 612-626-0138

Office Address:
6-320d Moos Tower
515 Delaware St. SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

General Practice Residency, Hennepin County Medical Center; TMD and Orofacial Pain Residency Program, University of Minnesota, 1985

DDS, University of Iowa (Dentistry), 1982

MS, University of Minnesota (Oral Biology), 1986


Eric Schiffman DDS, MS is a professor and former director of the Division of TMD and Orofacial Pain at the School of Dentistry at the University of Minnesota. In 1982, he received his dental degree from the School of Dentistry at the University of Iowa. In 1983 he completed a general practice residency (GPR) at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, MN where he was trained to do general dentistry on medically compromised patients and saw patients with orofacial trauma in the emergency room setting. He was then the first resident to complete the 2-year TMD and Orofacial Pain Residency Program at the School of Dentistry at the University of Minnesota in 1985; and concurrently, obtained a Master of Science in Oral Biology in 1986. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Orofacial Pain (ABOP). Finally, he is a co-owner and practices at the Minnesota Head and Neck Pain Clinic, a multi-disciplinary pain clinic with 4 locations in the Twin Cities.

Awards & Recognition

  • President of the Association of University TMD and Orofacial Pain Programs (AUTOPP) - 2010, 2011
  • Recipient of Visiting Scientist Programme at Malmö University - 2008
  • Omicron Kappa Upsilon - 1992
  • Inventor of the Year: Minnesota Intellectual Property Law Association - 1990


Research Summary/Interests

Dr. Schiffman has received over $12 million in NIH/NIDCR funding. His research interest including developing validated diagnostic criteria for the most common temporomandibular disorders (TMD) including disorders involving the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). He has also completed numerous randomized clinical trials (RCT) investigating the relative effectiveness of home based self-care as compared to jaw exercises and medications. He also completed a RCT with a 5-year follow-up assessing the relative effectiveness on non-surgical and surgical treatments for advanced TMJ pathology. This research found that surgery is rarely needed to treat even advance TMJ disorders. His current funded research focuses on the impact of TMJ disorders, including disc displacements and degenerative joint disease, on jaw pain, function and disability.

Research Funding Grants

U01 DEO19784-01A2 (Priority score: 18) - 7/01/11 - 6/30/14 

TMJ Intra-Articular Disorders: Impact on Pain, Functioning and Disability ($3.7 million)
The primary aim of this multi-site study is to determine whether progression of TMJ intra-articular disorders (disc displacements and osteoarthritis) is associated with the primary patient-reported outcomes (PROs) of jaw pain, jaw functional limitation and disability at 9-year follow-up. Subjects will be recalled from our prior research project: Research Diagnostic Criteria: Reliability and Validity (UO1 DEO13331).
Role: PI

R01DE021917-01A1 Ceusters (PI) - 7/1/11 - 6/30/13
An Ontology for Pain-Related Disability, Mental Health and Quality of Life.
The overall purpose of this multisite project is to develop an ontology which allows integration of 5 datasets concerning patients suffering from various orofacial pain disorders with the goal to obtain better insight in the complexity of pain disorders, specifically concerning the assessment of pain-related disablement and its association with mental health and quality of life. One of the 5 independent dataset is from the RDC/TMD Validation Project (U01-DE013331)/ PI Eric Schiffman.
Role: Co-Investigator

University of Minnesota Grant-in-Aid - 1/1/11 - 6/30/12
Assessing the Effectiveness of Two Treatment Strategies for Tension-type Headache
The aim of this single-blind randomized clinical trial is to compare the effectiveness of usual care (medications) to multi-disciplinary treatment (splint therapy and physical therapy) for the treatment of tension-type headache involving the temporalis muscle(s) that is affected by jaw movement, function and parafunction. Recruitment of subjects is still ongoing.
Role: PI

Completed Research Support

U01 DE013331 7/01/01 - 05/31/09
Research Diagnostic Criteria: Reliability and Validity
The aim of this multi-site study was to determine the reliability and validity of the Research Diagnostic Criteria for Temporomandibular Disorders (RDC for TMD). A second aim was to revise the RDC/TMD if indicated. The RDC for TMD includes Axis I biomedical diagnoses for TMD and Axis II biobehavioral assessment procedures. In addition, this study assessed several biological markers for their role as potential mediators underlying the biomedical diagnoses. The significance of this study was that a valid and reliable Diagnostic Criteria for TMD is needed for future observational and experimental studies.
Role: PI


  • Nixdorf DR, John MT, Wall MM, Fricton JR, Schiffman EL. Psychometric properties of the modified Symptom Severity Index (SSI). J Oral Rehabil. 2009 Jan;37(1):11-20. PMID: 19889036/ PMCID:2858780
  • Fricton, JR, Ouyang, W, Nixdorf, DR, Schiffman, EL, Velly, AM, Look, JO. (2009). Critical Appraisal of Methods used in Randomized Controlled Trials of Treatment for Temporomandibular Disorders. J Orofac Pain. Spring:24(2):139-151. PMID: 20401352
  • Nixdorf DR, Hemmaty A, John MT, Schiffman EL, Look JO. (2009). Electric toothbrush application is a reliability & validity quantitative sensory test in categorizing TMJD patients from controls. BMC Musculoskelet Disord. Jul 30;10:94. PMID: 19643013 PMCID: 2728093.
  • Ahmad M, Hollender L, John M, Anderson Q, Kartha K, Ohrbach R, Truelove, E and Schiffman E. Research Diagnostic Criteria for Temporomandibular Disorders: Development of Image Analysis Criteria and Examiner Reliability for Image Analysis. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol Endod 2009;107:844-860. NIHMS 121369.
  • Schiffman EL, Truelove EL, Ohrbach R, Anderson GC, John MT, List T, Look JO. (2010). Research Diagnostic Criteria for Temporomandibular Disorders. I: Overview and Methodology for Assessment of Validity. J Orofac Pain. Winter; 24(1):7-24. PMID: 20213028
  • Look J, John M, Tai F, Huggins K, Lenton P, Truelove E, Ohrbach R, Anderson G and Schiffman, E. (2010). Research Diagnostic Criteria for Temporomandibular Disorders. II: Reliability of Axis I Diagnoses and Selected Clinical Measures. J Orofac Pain. Winter; 24(1):25-34. PMID: 20213029
  • Truelove E., Pan, W, Look J, Mancl L, Ohrbach R, Velly A, Huggins, K, Lenton P and Schiffman E. (2010). Research Diagnostic Criteria for Temporomandibular Disorders. III: Validity of Axis I Diagnoses. J Orofac Pain. Winter; 24(1):35-47. PMID: 20213030
  • Ohrbach R, Turner J, Sherman J, Mancl L, Truelove E, Schiffman E and Dworkin S. Research Diagnostic Criteria for Temporomandibular Disorders: Evaluation of Psychometric Properties of the Axis II Measures. J Orofac Pain Winter; 24(1):48-62. PMID: 20213031
  • Schiffman E, Ohrbach R, Truelove E, Tai F, Anderson G, Pan W, Gonzalez Y, John MT, Sommers E, List T, Velly AM, Kang W and Look JO. (2010). Research Diagnostic Criteria for Temporomandibular Disorders. V: Methods Used to Establish and Validate Revised Axis I Diagnostic Algorithms. J Orofac Pain. Winter; 24(1):63-78. PMID: 20213032
  • Anderson G, Gonzalez Y, Ohrbach R, Truelove E, Sommers E, Look J, and Schiffman E. (2010). Research Diagnostic Criteria for Temporomandibular Disorders. VI: Future Directions. J Orofac Pain. Winter; 24(1):79-88. PMID: 20213033
  • Look JO, Schiffman EL, Truelove EL, Ahmad M. (2010). Reliability and validity of Axis I of the Research Diagnostic Criteria for Temporomandibular Disorders (RDC?TMD) with proposed revisions. J Oral Rehabil. 2010 37; 744–759.
  • Velly AM, Look JO, Schiffman E, Lenton PA, Kang W, Messner RP, Holcroft CA, Fricton JR. (2010). The Effect of Fibromyalgia and Widespread Pain on the Clinically Significant Temporomandibular Muscle and Joint Pain Disorders-A Prospective 18-Month Cohort Study. J Pain. 2010 May 11.
  • Anderson GC, John MT, Ohrbach R, Nixdorf DR, Schiffman EL, Truelove ES, List T. Influence of headache frequency on clinical signs and symptoms of TMD in subjects with headache and TMD pain. Pain. 2011, 152(4):765-71.
  • Gonzalez Y, Schiffman ES, Gordon SM, Seago B, Truelove E, Slade G, Ohrbach R. Development of a brief and effective TMD-pain screening questionnaire: reliability and validity. JADA. 2011; 142:1183-1191.
  • Basi D, Velly AM, Schiffman E, Lenton P, Hughes PA, Swift JQ, Kehl L. (2011). Biochemical Profiles Associated with Human Musculoskeletal Pain: A Case-Control Study. J Oral Rehab. 2012. 39(5): 326-337.
  • List, T, John MT, Ohrbach R, Schiffman EL, Truelove E, Anderson GC. (2011). Influence of headache frequency on pain intensity, physical functioning and emotional functioning in subjects with temple headache and TMD pain. J Orofac Pain. 2012. 26(2): 83-90.
  • Schiffman ES, Ohrbach R, List T, Anderson G, Kang W, Jensen R, John MT, Nixdorf D, Goulet, JP, Truelove E, Clavel A, Fricton J, Look J. (2012). Diagnostic criteria for headache attributed to temporomandibular disorders (TMD). Cephalalgia. 32(9): 683-692.
  • Velly A, Schiffman E, Rindal BR, Cunha-Cruz J, Gilbert G, Lehmann M, Horowitz A, Fricton J for the CONDOR Collaborative Group. Feasibility of doing a Clinical Trial Assessing the Initial Management of Patients with Pain-related Temporomandibular Muscle and Joint Disorders: findings from the CONDOR Dental PBRNs. JADA (Accepted).
  • Leon-Salazar V, Morrow L, Schiffman E. Pain patients’ perceived need for occlusal therapy: When referral is indicated. JADA. (Accepted).


  • Fricton JR, Schiffman EL. Management of Masticatory Myalgia and Arthralgia. 2nd Edition In Lund J, Lavigne G, Dubner R and Sessle B. (ed) Orofacial Pain: From Basic Science to Clinical Management. Quintessence Publishing Co., Carol Stream, Illinois, 2008: 22: 179-185. 


Academic Interests and Focus

Dr. Schiffman provides didactic instruction regarding the epidemiology of TMD including the diagnosis and management of patients with acute to chronic temporomandibular disorders (TMD) and associated headaches. He is an expert on the indications and contraindications for temporomandibular (TMJ) surgery.


Board Certifications

Board Certifications

Diplomate, American Board of Orofacial Pain

Care Philosophy

Dr. Schiffman has expertise in many areas of orofacial pain with special expertise in the differential diagnosis of TMD, orofacial pain disorders and related headache disorders. His management team for comprehensive TMD rehabilitation typically involves a team of dentists, physical therapists and health psychologists as well as