Temporomandibular Joint Evaluation
Imaging the TMJ area may be indicated when patients present with pain and tenderness in the TMJ, clicking or crepitus, locking or dislocation. These symptoms may be related to pathologic changes in the hard and/or soft tissue components of the TMJ. TMJ imaging also may be useful for documenting condylar position prior to or following splint therapy, crepitus, locking, or dislocation.
CT is the procedure of choice for studying the hard tissue components of the TMJ. Images acquired in one plane of view may be digitally enhanced and reconstructed by computer to show the condyle and glenoid fossa from virtually any perspective in both two and three dimensions.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
MRI is a noninvasive procedure that does not use X-rays. It is the only method available that will directly and consistently show soft tissue components of the TMJ. MRI is useful for locating the position of the disk and for the assessment of inflammatory conditions of the TMJ area.
Conventional Film Tomography
Conventional film tomography, like CT, is used for the assessment of hard tissue components of the TMJ. Individually corrected lateral and coronal views of the TMJ are recorded on radiographic film. Unlike CT, these images are not digital and may not be manipulated.