Recently, the number of patients who visit the hospital with symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD) has been gradually increasing, and the need for special imaging such as cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is increasing for accurate diagnosis and treatment. The purpose of this study was to help the image guideline by comparing the usefulness of CBCT and MRI according to the clinical symptoms of TMD patients and further examining whether the usefulness varies with age. A total of 473 temporomandibular joints (TMJs) with clinical symptoms of TMD who underwent both CBCT and MRI examinations were retrospectively reviewed. Clinical symptoms included pain, sound and limited mouth opening. The CBCT findings included sclerosis, flattening, erosion and osteophyte, while the MRI findings were defined as disc deformity, disc derangement or joint effusion. Joints were divided according to the presence of CBCT and MRI findings as follows: type I (neither CBCT nor MRI findings), type II (only CBCT findings), type III (only MRI findings) and type IV (both CBCT and MRI findings). We assessed the usefulness of the two imaging modalities by comparing the frequency of those four groups according to clinical symptoms and age. In TMD patients with the clinical symptoms, MRI and CBCT are complementary, but if it is difficult to choose the first of these two modalities, MRI is more recommended, and the younger the patient, the more the MRI is recommended.
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