Aims: To evaluate the association between clinical signs/symptoms and bone changes on CBCT images in patients with degenerative joint disease (DJD) of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ).
Methods: An electronic literature search of the MEDLINE, PubMed, EMBASE, Scopus, and Web of Science databases, as well as Google Scholar for gray literature, was conducted to identify relevant articles on February 26, 2021. Risk of bias was evaluated using the Joanna Briggs Institute critical appraisal tools. The GRADEpro (Recommendation, Assessment, Development, and Evaluation) system instrument was applied to assess the level of evidence across studies.
Results: Nine papers assessing clinical signs/symptoms and CBCT findings were included. TMJ pain (arthralgia) and TMJ noises carried the strongest associations with various CBCT findings, each of which were supported by four studies with significant associations. Only one study found significant associations between masticatory myalgia (muscle pain) and CBCT findings. Range of motion carried no significant associations with CBCT findings in the included studies. Based on the GRADEpro system, the certainty of evidence is low for said associations.
Conclusion: The results suggest that TMD patients with TMJ arthralgia and joint noises may benefit from CBCT imaging. There would be less benefit in TMD patients exhibiting primarily myalgia or limited range of motion, and therefore these patients should not be prescribed routine CBCT radiographs unless indicated by other clinical findings. The heterogeneity of reporting in the included studies suggests that embracing universal clinical (DC/TMD) and radiographic diagnostic criteria for TMJ-DJD would benefit both research and clinical outcomes.