Airway and Sleep Group Podcast

Doppler Auscultation to Diagnose TMJ

September 22, 2021 Dr. Liliana Calkins
Airway and Sleep Group Podcast
Doppler Auscultation to Diagnose TMJ
Show Notes

Airway and Sleep Group uses Doppler Auscultation because it is an effective screening tool to diagnose TMJ Health and disorders. Doppler Auscultation allows Dr. Lillana Calkins to listen to a patient’s joints by using a stethoscope with a microphone that incorporates the Doppler wave effect. The sounds give us an indication of the amount of friction and quality of lubrication within the joint.

Doppler Auscultation and Piper Classifications

Listening to our patient’s joints is an important step in the TMJ-Occlusal Exam process. Dr. Mark Piper introduced the use of a Doppler in dentistry in the 1980’s.  Therefore, Piper Classifications helps to assess a patient’s joint health when using Doppler Auscultation.  

By listening to the joint, and noting when the pop or click occurs, we can determine where the disc is off. We Diagnose the TMJ problem as classifications of 1 through 5. For example:

• Class 1 denotes a normal joint.

• Class 2 and 3 means that the patient has lateral pole issues if the noises occur after translation has begun.

• Class 4 and 5 means the patient has medial pole issues because the pop, or click occurs during rotation and the disc is displaced. An MRI or CAT scan can allow for a definitive diagnosis.

The Easy TMJ-Occlusal Exam process

After setting up the device, the patient will open and close their mouth slowly. If there are no sounds, we can assume that the patient has an intact joint that is well lubricated.

If there are noises, then the next step will determine whether it is a medial pole issue or lateral pole issue. To test the Medial pole, the patient will place their tongue on the roof of their mouth and just open half way. The motion will be pure rotation. To test the Lateral Pole, the patient will open wide and close, then have the patient move to right, left and protrusive, which are all in Translation. 

TMJ Diagnosis with Doppler Auscultation

If you are experiencing jaw pain and think you may have a TMJ disorder, schedule a consultation to get a definitive diagnosis at Airway and Sleep Group. Our commitment to employing the latest medical technology will put you on the right path to resolving your pain issues.

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