TMJ Pathologies in Children and Teenagers the Overlooked Diagnosis

The work that is been presented in this publication won the third place in the clinical table presentation in the congress of the IAO (International Association for Orthodontics) April 2012, entitled – TMJ Pathologies in Children and Teenagers, the Overlooked Diagnosis.

At the same congress I presented a more extensive conference on the mentioned subject.

I presented this paper at a congress that bring together orthodontists and orthopedists from around the world. The intention was to make them aware about TMJ pathologies in children and teenagers even in cases apparently simples that we can see in our clinics, where the TMJ can be compromised.The evaluation of the TMJ and the diagnosis of its pathologies should be an inseparable part of our procedures, not only in orthodontics and orthopedics but in all areas of dentistry.

I had presented in this page several cases with the first and second phases completed.

In this publication I WILL PRESENT ONLY THE FIRS PHASEas it was presented in the clinical table and in the lecture.

Nowadays the patient is already in an advanced stage of the second phase.

THE IMPORTANT SUBJECT  IN THIS PUBLICATION IS THE STRUCTURAL IMPROVEMENTS ACHIEVED IN THIS FIRST PHASE.

1 Female patient, 14 years of age comes to consultation with complaints of pain in the lower teeth, shoulder pain and TMJ clicking on the left side.

Aesthetic correction is an important issue  for the patient, but she and her mother were also  concerned with the  pain in the lower teeth and the noise generated by the click. 

2 dentes The occlusion of the patient suggests a case without major difficulty, a simple case.

In this case could be very easy to evaluate and diagnose the need for superior expansion for the accommodation and advancement of the mandible, and afterwards the vertical deficiency.3 oclusais Often when we analyze a case for orthodontic correction, we can list the possible etiological factors that led the patient to this situation.

When evaluating a functional failure we must take into account ALL THE ETIOLOGIC FACTORS INVOLVED IN THIS DYSFUNCTION.4 panoramica Patient’s initial panoramic radiograph before treatment.5 lateral cervical Patient’s initial lateral and cervical spine radiograph before treatment.

Besides the rectification of the cervical spine we can notice the start of an inversion of the physiological curvature from C4.6 frontalPatient’s initial frontal radiograph before treatment.7 cefalometria Cephalometry is a very important part in the diagnosis and correction of clinical cases, both in orthodontics as in orthopedics, BUT it is not an exam to show pathology of temporomandibular joints.8 laminografiaThe laminography of the temporomandibular joints in closed and open mouth is considered as the panoramic radiograph for the temporomandibular joints.

It cannot be compared to a CT scan of the temporomandibular joints, but it is a basic examination for the first information on TMJ.8 laminografia corIn this same image with color highlight, we can appreciate the retroposition of the left TMJ, the change in the growth axis of this same side and the loss of joint space on both sides.

The patient reports a traumatism when she was child “I hit the neck, near to the chin, playing on the bedside table”.9 ampliação laminografiaLaminography image magnification with highlight color, closed mouth, right and left side.10 ampliação laminografiaThis image magnification from the temporomandibular joints in closed mouth; right and left sides, DOES NOT SHOW THE ARTICULAR DISC CONDITION NOR THE LIGAMENTS.12 ressonancia When the patient comes for consultation with some sort of dysfunction, the professional treatment should be directed to the restoration of normal function, when possible.

To know what normal function is, we must understand that ANATOMY IS THE PLATFORM WHERE PHYSIOLOGY PERFORMS.

13 ressonancia It is necessary to know the functional anatomy of any part of our body to understand the physiopathology of any part of our body.

14 ressonancia

MRI: patient’s left TMJ closed mouth before treatment.

MRI: patient’s left TMJ closed mouth before treatment:

Mild irregularity of the bone cortical.

Anterior dislocation of the articular disc.

REMEMBER: THIS IS THE TMJ of a 14-year-old teenager.

She had no crepitation NOR PAIN IN the TMJ, only a click.

I have often read different views of colleagues expressing that the image information knowledge would not change anything, since it would not alter the procedures to be followed in the treatment.

15 ressonancia

MRI: patient’s left TMJ closed mouth before treatment;

Other slice of the same MRI:

MRI: patient’s left TMJ closed mouth before treatment:

Mild irregularity of the bone cortical.

Anterior dislocation of the articular disc.

REMEMBER: THIS IS THE TMJ of a 14-year-old teenager.

She had no crepitation NOR PAIN IN the TMJ, only a click.

I have often read different views of colleagues expressing that the image information knowledge would not change anything, since it would not alter the procedures to be followed in the treatment.

16 ressonancia

MRI: patient’s left TMJ closed mouth before treatment:

Other slice of the same MRI:

MRI: patient’s left TMJ closed mouth before treatment:

Mild irregularity of the bone cortical.

Anterior dislocation of the articular disc.

REMEMBER: THIS IS THE TMJ of a 14-year-old teenager.

She had no crepitation NOR PAIN IN the TMJ, only a click.

I have often read different views of colleagues expressing that the image information knowledge would not change anything, since it would not alter the procedures to be followed in the treatment.

17 ressonancia

MRI: patient’s right TMJ closed mouth before treatment.

MRI: patient’s right TMJ closed mouth before treatment.

Superior flattening, anterior marginal osteofhyte.

Anterior dislocation of the articular disc.

REMEMBER: THIS IS THE TMJ of a 14-year-old teenager.

She had no crepitation NOR PAIN IN the TMJ, only a click.

I have often read different views of colleagues expressing that the image information knowledge would not change anything, since it would not alter the procedures to be followed in the treatment.

20 ressonancia

MRI: patient’s right TMJ closed mouth before treatment.

Other slice of the same MRI:

MRI: patient’s right TMJ closed mouth before treatment.

Superior flattening, anterior marginal osteofhyte.

Anterior dislocation of the articular disc.

REMEMBER: THIS IS THE TMJ of a 14-year-old teenager.

She had no crepitation NOR PAIN IN the TMJ, only a click.

I have often read different views of colleagues expressing that the image information knowledge would not change anything, since it would not alter the procedures to be followed in the treatment.

21

When the patient comes to our clinic with some sort of dysfunction the treatment should be directed to the restoration of normal function.

How could this professional succeed if he  doesn not understand what is a normal function.

Remember ANATOMY IS THE PLATFORM WHERE PHYSIOLOGY PERFORMS.

When a patient like this, presents damage in the cortical bone and also in the articular disc and its ligaments, the question should be: CAN I IMPROVE THIS SITUATION?

If the answer is positive, it is important to document it in an objective way, in order to inform the colleagues that are always eager to learn and are not afraid to change paradigms. IF WE CAN NOT IMPROVE THIS SITUATION because of the sequels of different etiologies, we need to analise if we can improve our patient’s life quality and we also must inform the patient about the difficulties and limitations of each case.

22 Remember that systemic diseases, traumatism, infections, damage to the site of growth, muscle balance disruption, can have a profound influence on the craniofacial complex during this critical growth phase.23 eletromiografia inicial Initial dynamic electromyography record in habitual occlusion. We ask to the patient to open the mouth, clench strong and swallow. In this record we can observe that the patient cannot maintain the strength in clenching, even that she was instructed to close the mouth and not to open before we ask her to do that.24 registro magnetografico Her masticatory muscles where electronically deprogrammed and a bite record  in neurophysiological position was registered using a jaw tracker.

Remember that the information obtained from the images and that the  individualized objectives for each clinical case should always be taken into account in the bite registration.

The patient had a pathological free space of 4.3 mm and a retro position of 2.1 mm

This record is three-dimensional.

25 DIOWith this data we can construct a DIO (intraoral device). This device must be tested electromiographically to represent the ideal position of the muscles.26 eletromiografia DIO Dynamic electromyography record with the intraoral device in neurophysiological position. In this record we can see that the patient can maintain the strength of the bite, and that she increased the strenght of the masseters  and balanced  both digastric.27 ELETROS COMPARATIVAS Comparison of the SEMG records of the patient, the first in habitual occlusion and the second with the intraoral device in neurophysiological position.28 perfil comparativas Standing posture (orthostatic position) right side, sagittal plane:

Trunk antepulsion position improved;

Improvement of the shoulder anterior rotation;

It seems that the shoulder blades are flat, more neutral;

In the first photograph, in habitual occlusion, it can be observed a rectification of  the physiological curvature in the cervical spine. On the second photograph we can see an improvement of the physiological curvature.

The head position is more balanced, closer to the proper alignment of the center of gravity where the neck flexors seem to be less contracted.

30 c7 comparativasPatient’s lateral and cervical spine comparison: in habitual occlusion and in neurophysiological occlusion.

Improvement  of the cervical spine physiological curve.

Increase of the  intervertebral spaces.31 comparativas do perfil Patient’s lateral radiographs with the profile comparison: in habitual occlusion and in neurophysiological occlusion.

Recovery of the lower facial height.32 lamino comparativas TMJ laminographies comparison: in habitual occlusion and in neurophysiological occlusion. Observe the decompression of the  temporomandibular joints.33 lamino comparativas COR In the same image with color highlight, we can better observe the decompression of the temporomandibular joints and compare it with the laminography in habitual occlusion.34 lamino comparativas COR AMPLIADAS Comparative images of TMJ laminographies magnification: in habitual occlusion and neurophysiological occlusion. Right and left TMJ, closed mouth.35 lamino comparativas COR AMPLIADAS PROVISORIASLaminography image magnification with highlight color, closed mouth. Right  and left TMJ in neurophysiological position.

This image, EVEN THAT IT IS SHOWING THE JOINT DECOMPRESSION, DOES NOT PROVE THE ARTICULAR DISC RECAPTURE, NOR PROVES THE IMPROVEMENT OF THE IRREGULARITIES ON THE CORTICAL BONE OBSERVED IN THE INITIAL PATIENT’S MRI.

LET’S REMEMBER THE IMAGES OF THE INITIAL MRI

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MRI: patient’s left TMJ closed mouth before treatment.

Comparative MRI images after the first phase of the treatment.

36 RNM AFTER TREATMENT

Comparative MRI images, left TMJ closed mouth, after the first phase of the treatment

Observe the good relation between the mandible head and the articular disc.

Observe the positive remodeling of the cortical bone.

LET’S REMEMBER THE IMAGES OF THE INITIAL MRI

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MRI: patient’s left TMJ closed mouth before treatment.

Comparative MRI images after the first phase of the treatment.

39 RNM AFTER TREATMENT 2

Comparative MRI images, left TMJ closed mouth, after the first phase of the treatment.

Comparative MRI images after the first phase of the treatment

Observe the good relation between the mandible head and the articular disc.

Observe the positive remodeling of the cortical bone.

LET’S REMEMBER THE IMAGES OF THE INITIAL MRI

16 ressonancia

MRI: patient’s left TMJ closed mouth before treatment.

Comparative MRI images after the first phase of the treatment.

40 RNM AFTER TREATMENT

Comparative MRI images, left TMJ closed mouth, after the first phase of the treatment.

Observe the good relation between the mandible head and the articular disc.

Observe the positive remodeling of the cortical bone.

LET’S REMEMBER THE IMAGES OF THE INITIAL MRI

17 ressonancia

MRI: patient’s right TMJ closed mouth before treatment.

42 RNM AFTER TREATMENT

Comparative MRI images, right TMJ closed mouth, after the first phase of the treatment.

Comparative MRI images after the first phase of the treatment.Observe the good relation between the mandible head and the articular disc.

Observe the positive remodeling of the cortical bone.

LET’S REMEMBER THE IMAGES OF THE INITIAL MRI

20 ressonancia

MRI: patient’s right TMJ closed mouth before treatment.

Comparative MRI images after the first phase of the treatment.

44 RNM AFTER TREATMENT

Comparative MRI images, right TMJ closed mouth, after the first phase of the treatment.

Observe the good relation between the mandible head and the articular disc.

Observe the positive remodeling of the cortical bone.

Nowadays the patient is already in an advanced stage of the second phase.

In this image we have a third MRI that was not presented at the IAO Congress.

The structures continue to improve.

46 3 RIGHT TMJ

Right TMJ closed mouth sagittal slices comparison: initial, after the first phase of treatment and in the control of the second phase still not completed.

 In this image we have a third MRI that was not presented at the IAO Congress.

47 LEFT TMJ

Left TMJ closed mouth sagittal slices comparison: initial, after the first phase of treatment and in the control of the second phase still not completed.

The structures continue to improve.

The evaluation of the TMJ and the diagnosis of its pathologies should be an inseparable part of our procedures, not only in orthodontics and orthopedics but in all areas of dentistry.

We need to know:

Has the TMJ  a pathologic condition?

If positive, which structures are damaged?

How this condition can influence the joint  function and  the future of the patien’s joint?

Do I have the possibilty to give to the patient the condition to heal the damaged structures or to improve them?

The target is to bring this structures the closer we can to a healthy function, when possible.

Is this always possible? OF COURSE NOT, but when  it is possible, the structures must be repaired.

Logically, differential diagnosis allow us a prognosis: favorable or not. favorable.

NOT ALL THE ARTHROPATHIES WILL HAVE THE RESULT WE HAD IN THIS CASE, BUT PROGNOSIS IS ALSO A PIECE IN THE INITIAL DIAGNOSIS that must include all the systems involved.