Appropriate TMJ Diagnostics:
TMJ in most instances is primarily due to an underlying jaw misalignment. In cases of trauma, but for the underlying misalignment, the TMJ would self correct. Knowing this dictates what TMJ diagnostics should be taken.
Definition: Jaw misalignment – a condition in which the teeth do not support the jaw in the same position where the muscles suspending the jaw want the jaw to be. This requires the jaw muscles to accommodate to the tooth position, thus causing the jaw muscles and trigeminal nerve to become hypertonic / hyperactive. This condition is present in varying degree in over 95% of the population from suspected multigenerational dietary inefficiencies. Dental therapies can also cause this condition to become worse.
The records that a doctor uses to assess a condition are dependent upon his model of pathology. For me, I view jaw dysfunction to be a musculo-skeletal discrepancy. This is a condition that is present and covertly impacts the vast majority of patients facing orthodontic treatment. Hence, for TMJ diagnostics, I want as a minimum jaw motion analysis
(computerized jaw tracking with a kinesiograph), CAT scan or tomographic x-rays of the temporomandibular joint, and photographs and models of the teeth. Occasionally, an MRI is required if jaw function so indicates. If there are medical conditions that are possibly interacting, blood tests may also be required (substance P levels are often beneficial). Jaw motion analysis is now required in Japan for orthodontic treatment if payment is to be forthcoming from the national health insurance. Unfortunately, in this country few orthodontists have yet to comprehend the need for functional tests in order to get the jaw aligned as well as the teeth.