One of the symptoms of TMJ is popping or clicking in the jaw. This indicates displacement of the disc that’s supposed to protect the two bones in the temporomandibular joint from grinding against one another. Displacement leads to damage to the jaw joint components: the bones and the disc. This damage causes TMJ to worsen over time.
Unfortunately, by the time we can hear joint sounds, damage is already being done to the jaw joint. That’s why tools like electrosonography are so important–they can help us diagnose TMJ before substantial damage is done, reducing your symptoms and helping you avoid invasive procedures like joint replacement surgery.
What Is Electrosonography?
Electrosonography is just amplified listening to your joint sounds. It’s one of three components in our K-7 device, which gives us objective measurements to help diagnose TMJ. (The other two components of the K-7 are electromyography, which measures muscle tension, and digital jaw tracking, which measures the motion of your jaw.)
Electrosonography works using a headphone-like device that you wear. Except, instead of speakers the headphone has microphones that can pick up sounds from your jaw joints. It can pick up sounds that are very difficult for the human ear to register, and sends them to the computer.
Sometimes, the process of listening to the jaw joint sounds with an electronic device is called “jaw vibration analysis” or JVA.
Electrosonography Helps with Early Diagnosis
As we said before, the earlier we can diagnose your TMJ, the better we can manage treatment. Because electrosonography can pick up sounds that are hard for us to hear, it can help us detect TMJ early.
You may not even be aware of the sounds your jaw is making. Or if you are, you might just think that they’re normal sounds. You certainly wouldn’t say that you have jaw popping or clicking yet, and you might not feel any jaw pain.
Electrosonography also helps us characterize the sounds precisely. Sometimes, it’s hard to describe the sounds we hear, and adjectives like “popping,” “clicking,” or “grinding,” aren’t specific enough. Looking at the specific shape of the sound waves on the electrosonograph helps us understand exactly what’s going on in the jaw joint so we can make a more precise diagnosis. Especially when we can combine it with other data from the K-7, T-Scan, and other measures.
Electrosonography Helps Track Progress
Another benefit of electrosonography is that it provides a record of your jaw sounds. The record of your jaw sounds from one session can be compared to others. This allows us to see whether your TMJ is getting worse, or if treatment is helping to reduce stress on the jaw joints. It’s a more precise comparison than just looking at the written notes about jaw sounds from three or six months ago!
With this kind of objective treatment data, we can tune your TMJ treatment to get the maximum benefit for you. And we can know when to change your TMJ status from just observation to treatment.
Technology Improves Outcomes
Electrosonography is one of the many technologies that we apply in our office that help with the diagnosis or treatment of conditions like TMJ. We choose technologies like this because they improve the experience and results our patients receive from treatment.
If you are looking for an Anchorage TMJ dentist with the technology for accurate diagnosis and treatment, look no further. Please call (907) 349-0022 today for an appointment at Excellence in Dentistry.