MRI of the upper and lower jaws is an important tool for diagnosing pathology. In our practice, it is also used as part of our TMJ and Bite Exam. Changes made to the bite or occlusion have profound effects to what happens in the TMJs and vice versa. Furthermore, most occlusal or bite problems are caused by damaged to one or both TMJs.
The two critical pieces of information revealed by MRI are the health of the bone and soft tissue in the TMJ and the relationship between the lower jaw bone and the TMJ disc. Furthermore, we need to see this relationship in different bite positions. Once this is evaluated, proper decisions can be made about treatment.
The above image shows the MRI scans in particular bite positions. This is critical information if we are going to truly solve a patient's TMJ and Bite issues. In my office, even if there are no "obvious" signs of pain or bite disfunction, this level of analysis is always completed before orthodontic treatment or any significant dental treatment (including cosmetic procedures).
Note: We have worked hard to make our MRI scans much more affordable than traditional MRIs.