Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD) can affect a significant portion of the population. Clinical symptoms may include one or more of the following: pain in the region of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), headaches, earaches, muscle tenderness, joint noises such as clicking, popping or grating, limited opening or deviation of the mandible on opening/closing, & locking. Evaluation of TMD begins with a thorough patient history and clinical examination. In some cases, the clinical examination findings are sufficient to allow the dentist to arrive at a preliminary diagnosis and begin conservative treatment. However, other patients will require diagnostic imaging of the TMJs in order to provide information, which is not available from the clinical examination.
Imaging allows the practitioner to evaluate the integrity and relationships of the TMJ components, confirm the extent or progression of joint disease and evaluate effects of treatment. The results of imaging studies must be correlated with the patient history and clinical findings in order to arrive at a diagnosis and plan treatment.
A large number of imaging techniques are available nowadays to visualise the temporomandibular joint and surrounding structures. It is important that bony structures as well as soft tissue can be shown. OPG & CT are more suitable for viewing the bony structures. The panoramic radiography is the technique of choice in the general practice and provides adequate screening images of the temporomandibular joints, mandible, maxilla, teeth and surrounding tissues. Mandibular asymmetries may not be clinically apparent and may be a contributing factor in the development of TMD.