Many people are aware of jaw joint noise when they open wide or sometimes when they chew certain food types. Most dentists are asked about this noise frequently. However, what does the noise mean, and can it be used to determine how healthy the jaw joint is?
The gold standard of TMJ diagnosis is not listening with a stethoscope, a Doppler, palpating with fingers, or even looking at a CBCT scan, but rather magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The problem is no dentist has access to an MRI (the machine costs more than what most dental offices bill in a year.) In the absence of readily available and affordable scans, dentists have long relied on other means to understand what is happening to the cartilaginous disc when a patient opens and closes. Many years ago, the smart people at BioRESEARCH Associates discovered that similar temporomandibular disorders generate similar vibrations across different populations of people. With this knowledge, they created a device that can listen to the vibrations in each jaw joint, record the vibrations and generate a computerized report for documentation and interpretation. With the information recorded by their equipment, Bio-JVA, a health care provider can have a working diagnosis of the health of the articular disc of the TMJ.
JVA in my practice.
I use joint vibration analysis in my practice as a screening tool for both my Obstructive Sleep Apnea patients and my TMJ patients. This tool helps me understand the position of the disc in different movements and titrate my TMJ appliances to increase their efficacy. Before doing any joint space injections that intend to push the disc back into position, we still seek out an MRI from one of the local radiology clinics in town.
If you are interested in referring a patient to Dr. Christina Cairns please visit my practice website with the following link, to download a referral sheet, electronically refer or just learn more about Colorado Springs Sleep Apnea & TMJ Solutions: Sleepishealthy.com