What is JVA?
Joint Vibration Analysis (JVA-Bioresearch Associates, Deer Borne, WI, USA) is a painless screening tool that looks like a music headset. It rests over both of the temporomandibular joints and gives an adept doctor an objective screening regarding what is occurring within the cartilage within their patients’ TMJ’s as they open and close throughout their entire range of motion. Basically, perfectly normal and healthy cartilage interposed between where the jawbone connects to the skull creates little to no vibration (since structurally normal cartilage acts like a “pillow” between these two bones). The JVA headset and software will sense and display little to no vibration as normal. When the cartilage is torn in one or both of the TMJ’s, the software will show spikes and warn the clinician that things are not quite normal. The software also quantifies the vibrations that it measures, which can be cross-referenced with a database flowchart to correlate with particular degrees and types of cartilage damage. Though by no means diagnostic, JVA is a quite useful screening tool. Nothing beats the MRI for truly knowing what is going on with the TMJ’s and the cartilage within the TMJ’s. Remember though, that the cartilage condition, position, and possible tears of the cartilage “pillow” can readily affect the bite, and even increase the amount of time that the back teeth touch, leading to an increase in muscular activity with potentially painful muscular TMD consequences. Think of the JVA as the “poor man’s MRI”. The JVA is quick and quite useful as a screening tool, but not always completely accurate. Compared to normal clinical palpation and other unmeasured and subjective examinations of the TMJ’s used by most doctors though, it is light years ahead! It is a good idea to make sure that your particular DTR doctor at least uses JVA to screen your TMJ cartilage, and ideally, CBCT and MRI as well (level 3 CNO doctors).