An overall look for Temporomandibular Joint Pathologies and Imaging

Hakan Eren, Mehmet Eray Kolsuz, Kaan Orhan


Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) complex is one of the most complex joint which connects the mandible to the skull. This kind of joint system has ability to perform complex and bilateral movements. Because, TMJ has a complicated anatomy, there is a need for a thorough investigation to find the correct cause of TMJ disorders, as well as knowing the TMJ anatomy. Anatomical structures of TMJ contain hard tissues and soft tissues. Soft tissues consist of joint capsule, ligaments, articular disc, muscles and tendons. A healthy joint is connected to proper and compatible function of all these anatomical structures. Temporomandibular disorder (TMD) is a term used for any problems that affecting the temporomandibular joint. Possible causes for TMD are injury to the TMJ or related anatomical structures, clenching the teeth or bruxism, dislocation of the disc, presence of osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis in the TMJ, emotional stress, aging, etc. The most common TMJ disorders are pain dysfunction syndrome, internal derangement, arthritis, and traumas. Radiographic imaging is an important element in the correct diagnosis. Because of the anatomic complexity of the temporomandibular joint and its proximity to the temporal bone, mastoid air cells, and auditory structures, imaging of the joint structures should also be investigated. Therefore, careful clinical and radiological examinations are essential in the evaluation of TMJ. In this review, TMJ anatomy, Imaging methods, the classification of various pathologies and radiological techniques, are discussed.


Temporomandibular joint; Anatomy; TMJ Disorders, TMJ Imaging

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