Application of cone beam computed tomography for assessment of the temporomandibular joints


Dr Sanjay M Mallya
UCLA School of Dentistry
Section of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology
Los Angeles
CA 90095-1668


Radiographic examination is essential for the diagnosis and management of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders. The goals of TMJ radiography are to evaluate cortical and trabecular architecture of the bony structures and confirm their integrity, to assess the extent and monitor progression of osseous changes, and to evaluate the response to treatment. Accurate evaluation of the TMJ by conventional radiography is limited by structure superimposition. Cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) provides high-resolution multiplanar images and delivers substantially lower radiation dose, compared with multislice CT. CBCT allows examination of TMJ anatomy without superimposition and distortion to facilitate analysis of bone morphology, joint space and dynamic function in all three dimensions. This article will describe the role of CBCT imaging for the assessment of the TMJ osseous structures and present typical appearances of common pathological conditions of the TMJ.