The objective was to study the utility of the graded chronic pain (GCP) scale of the Research Diagnostic Criteria for Temporomandibular Disorders (RDC/TMD) for the purpose of recognizing TMD pain profiles in primary health care. The GCP scale was used to gather data from 93 consecutive TMD patients seeking treatment in a primary health care setting. The GCP data were compared with pain profiles assessed by scales similar to the more complicated multidimensional pain inventory (MPI). The scales used were able to produce the similar 'dysfunctional profiles' in the TMD patients as the original MPI scale in the sample of chronic pain patients. Also, the original MPI profiles of 'adaptive copers' and 'interpersonally distressed' were produced with distinctive features. The GCP grades distributed almost identically among the subgroups produced by the pain profiles. Most grade I patients were classified as adaptive copers (82--86%), most grade II patients were interpersonally distressed (59%) and all except one of the grade III patients were classified as dysfunctional (83%). The results seem to support the main assumption of our study that the GCP scale is a simple screening tool suitable for identifying primary care TMD patients with various types of pain profiles.