Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, uses two-dimensional and three-dimensional images of what the inside of the body looks like, in a non-invasive way. Please note that MRI and CT are not equivalent in diagnostic capabilities – some diseases are better evaluated with MRI than CT, and vice versa. Sometimes they are even complementary. Depending on the type of abnormality under investigation, a contrast material may be administered intravenously during the procedure.

Locations Offering This Procedure:

Northwest Imaging

Who Needs This Procedure?

MRI is an excellent tool for the evaluation of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). MRI uses a different contrast material than CT, therefore making it a good alternative to traditional CT contrast. Also, the MRI can show if the TMJ disc is in the proper position as your jaw moves.

Women who are pregnant are advised not to undergo MRI procedures.

Preparing For The Procedure:

Patients should remove all metal objects from their person prior to the procedure, as the magnetic field of the exam unit may be interfered with. Notify your doctor of any implants, dental materials or other metal objects that are in your body, in order to minimize complications. Your doctor may advise you not to eat or drink before the procedure if a contrast material is being used.

During The Procedure:

The patient lays on the exam table for the entirety of the procedure. If necessary, a contrast material will be administered intravenously. While the MRI unit is capturing images, the exam table will move the patient through, building a 3D image. Most procedures last about 45 minutes.

What Will I Experience?

Some patients may feel anxious about being inside a traditional “closed” MRI machine. “Open” MRI units are available for patients who would prefer it, especially those with claustrophobia. However, the capabilities of the “open” MRI unit are usually less than that of a “closed” unit.

The Benefits:

MRI technology offers detection of soft-tissue abnormalities in a non-invasive way. MRI does not emit radiation, making it a safe alternative to other imaging technology.