AACD Website Blog Clinical Insights My Jaw Joint Clic...

My Jaw Joint Clicks: TMJ Issues

January 13, 2020 by AACD Executive Office

By Jim McKee, DDS

Many patients who are seeking esthetic enhancements also present with occlusal issues. We often assume occlusal issues are due to improper tooth position; however, many tooth position problems we see clinically are the result of structural changes in the temporomandibular joints.

When a patient seeks esthetic treatment and also reports having clicking joints, there are several questions that arise:

Is it problem for the patient?

Does it need to be treated?

What can be done for clicking and popping joints?

Does the patient need an MRI or CT Scan?

It can be a truly difficult discussion because most of our clinical assessments are based on an indirect visualization of TM joint anatomy. As a result, it’s hard to know what treatments to recommend as well as the prognosis of each treatment option, because we do not always have a clear understanding of the anatomy we are treating, and reality does not always look like the textbook! Therefore, imaging is often necessary.

Gaining knowledge through 3D imaging can help dentists have more confidence when patients ask about clicking jaw joints, and lead to a better understanding of TM joint conditions.

"Understanding TM joint conditions allows for an increased level of confidence when discussing potential cosmetic changes with patients."


By better understanding TM joint conditions, dentists:

  • Can increase our treatment planning confidence
  • Can increase our ability to communicate effectively with patients
  • Can increase patient referrals and case acceptance

Take a deep dive into TMJ issues and view clinical scenarios by viewing Dr. McKee's course on the AACD Virtual Campus. 

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