According to experts at the International RDC-TMD Consortium (RDC-TMD stands for Research Diagnostic Criteria for Temporomandibular Disorders), CT and MRI scans can improve the diagnosis and treatment of TMJ, making them useful tools for dentists looking to help patients get relief from TMJ-related symptoms such as jaw pain and headaches.
What Is CT and What Are Its Benefits?
CT is short for computed tomography. In this imaging technique, an x-ray is used to take a series of digital x-rays, which create two-dimensional images. A computer then assembles these two-dimensional images into a single three-dimensional image. This allows for a greater understanding of the relationship between different components in the complex temporomandibular joint system.
The type of CT most often used in dentistry, Cone-beam CT, uses a focused beam to give highly detailed images of the smaller areas of concern in TMJ treatment. It also delivers a significantly lower radiation dose than most CT imaging, and it may even be less than a full spectrum of traditional dental x-rays.
What Is MRI and What Are Its Benefits?
MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging. It uses the electromagnetic properties of atoms in your body to get an image of your tissues. By applying magnetic fields and radio waves, it can create magnetic signals that show the spatial distribution of your tissues.
MRI is an important imaging technique because it is great at showing soft tissues. X-rays and CT may show the presence of soft tissues, but other than a vague outline, there may be little evidence of what is going on with them. MRI can show tissue shape and density, which can give us a good idea about what exactly is happening with the muscles and cartilage in your temporomandibular joint. The main limitation of MRI is that its use of magnetic fields means it may not be compatible with some types of dental restorations.
If you are suffering from TMJ and want to get optimal treatment results, we offer state-of-the-art diagnosis using the best tools available. Although CT and MRI may not be appropriate in your case, we will recommend them if they are.