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Advanced Imaging Techniques for TMJ Diagnosis at Dr. Mingus’s Practice

Finding the cause of jaw or jaw-adjacent muscle pain can be difficult for many dentists. Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder is one of the most common causes of this type of pain, and diagnosing TMJ dysfunction can be quite complicated. Traditional x-ray imaging isn’t always effective for pinpointing and understanding the cause of TMJ symptoms and accurately diagnosing the problem. At Dr. Mingus’s practice, we use advanced imaging techniques to thoroughly and accurately diagnose TMJ dysfunction. These techniques include magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), Cone beam computed tomography (CBCT), hi-definition computed tomography (HDCT), and electromyography (EMG).

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a non-invasive imaging test for diagnosing TMJ disorders. It looks into and around the tissues and ligaments to identify any issues that are contributing to the discomfort of the patient. A magnetic field and pulses of radio-wave energy are used to construct detailed images of the soft tissue and structures; providing an accurate 3D-printed reproduction. No radiation is used in this test, making it safe for most people to undergo the test. The test will require the patient to lie still within the MRI machine for around 20-40 minutes depending on the equipment used in the studio.

Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT)

Cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) is another non-invasive imaging test. It uses x-ray technology to create several images of the jaw from different angles. These cross-sectional images give dentists the ability to see the jawbone and any other related structures. The test will take around 20-40 minutes to complete. CBCT is becoming increasingly popular in dentistry because it doesn’t expose patients to as much radiation as traditional imaging tests.

Hi-Definition Computed Tomography (HDCT)

Hi-definition computed tomography (HDCT) is similar to CBCT, only it provides images that are more detailed and a scan that is done much faster. The test will only take around five minutes to complete. HDCT is especially useful for providing detailed images that can help the dentist identify any abnormal bone formation near the TMJ, which could be causing the discomfort in the patient. It does expose the patient to a bit more radiation than other imaging tests, but it’s still far less than traditional x-ray imaging.

Electromyography (EMG)

Electromyography (EMG) is an imaging test that looks at the electrical activity of the muscles in and around the TMJ. An electrode, which is a patch that safely sticks to the skin, is used to measure and record the electrical activity of the muscles. It provides information on how the muscles are functioning and whether or not any of the muscles have become overactive due to TMJ disorder. This test might not be recommended for all patients, such as those with a pacemaker, as the test requires the use of a small electrical current.

Dr. Mingus’s Practice

At Dr. Mingus’s practice, we use these innovative imaging techniques to improve the diagnostic accuracy of TMJ dysfunction and to pursue the best treatments for the patient’s individual condition. These imaging tests help us understand the cause of the pain, and they can provide the information necessary to determine what treatments may be most effective. Advanced imaging tests, like MRIs, CBCTs, HDCTs, and EMGs, may be recommended in some cases for the diagnosis of TMJ disorder. To discuss these imaging techniques and how they may be used for your specific situation, contact Dr. Mingus’s practice today.