Machine diagnoses TMD in minutes

Posted at 6:18 PM, Jun 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-23 18:18:18-04

Betsy Harris dealt with daily headaches for years.

“I had been to several doctors. I’ve been to physical therapists," she said.

Harris fought through the pain for years before a friend recommended Dr. Ray Becker with Howard County Smiles in Ellicott City, Maryland, who gave Betsy the Joint Vibration Analysis or the JVA Quick Test.

“That did indicate that I had a jaw out of alignment and I needed to do something to stabilize the jaw,” she said.

“The JVA has been vetted and shown to be 98 percent sensitive and specific in terms of its diagnostic capabilities,” says Dr. Becker.

The JVA allows doctors to identify vibration patterns to look for temporomandibular joint disorder—or TMD.

Within minutes doctors can tell what’s going on with someone’s joint.

Dr. Becker said, “The beautiful part of the JVA quick is it lets us understand what that noise is and how significant is that noise. Is there evidence of degenerative joint disease?”

Emily Edington was relieved when the JVA quick test picked up her issues.

“Open, closing, with the microphones on your jaw, kind of thing. Definitely weird! But it definitely helped,” she said.

She suffered from daily migraines as a kid, going from doctor to doctor trying to figures out the cause.

“We know that 60 to 80 percent of all headaches are triggered by myofascial pain dysfunction which means the muscles of the head and neck are out of harmony,” Dr. Becker said.

You often hear problems with the jaw joint referred to incorrectly as just TMJ.

“Most patients refer to a problem with their jaw as I have TMJ and actually everyone has TMJ its like saying I have knee or I have elbow,” says Dr. Becker. “TMD is an umbrella term for 38 plus different ideologies or pathologies that can exist that are falling under this umbrella.”

It’s not known for certain how many people suffer from TMD, but some estimates suggest over 10 million Americans are affected, which is why Dr. Becker says the JVA quick test is so valuable to patients.

“I’m out of pain. It’s incredible," Edington said. 

Harris echoed that, “It can save you from further damage down the road."

This technology is not new. Dr. Becker says its been out since around 1990, but he says very few dentists employ it on a routine basis.