What Is MRI Imaging?
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI-various manufacturers) looks at hydrogen content in human tissues. Soft tissues, water and fat within the human body contain hydrogen. Fluids that do not belong in the TMJ’s show up on a properly exposed MRI series, and are generally a sign of acute inflammation. Cartilage also has hydrogen, which shows the radiologist and the clinician where the cartilage lies in each of the right and left TMJ’s. Fat within the marrow of bone shows up as well on the MRI, a sign that the bone is alive if there is fat present, or conversely, lack of fat in the bone marrow of the mandibular condylar head is a sign that there is the distinct possibility of a serious TMJ orthopedic problem, such as dying bone. MRI basically lets us see things that cannot be seen in other ways, showing us if there are hidden problems within the TMJ jaw “hinges” themselves. Level 3 CNO doctors are acutely aware of these nuances and have been tested on the usage of MRI in regards to TMD diagnosis and treatment. MRI imaging does not expose the patient to radiation. Only manipulations of magnetic fields occur in this type of imaging. MRI imaging of the TMD patient is an idealistic step that can lead to more predictable outcomes!