Temporomandibular Joint MRI scan | Medserena Open MRI

Medserena temporomandibular joint MRI scan

MRI scan of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ); non-invasive procedure to help diagnose medical conditions relating to the jaw and TMJ, price includes:

  • Open and Upright MRI scan
  • 45 minutes appointment
  • Radiologist report within 72 hours
  • Images on USB at the end of the scan
    and available to NHS trusts via IEP on request
  • Complimentary refreshments

Please wear metal free clothing and if possible, avoid wearing any jewellery. Alternatively, Medserena can provide you with a gown to change into for your scan. Scroll down for more TMJ MRI scan information.

Many Scans Available within 48 hours

Superior healthcare service with every Private MRI scan

Calm, dignified

Little or no
waiting time

Private, spacious


Watch TV while


About temporomandibular joint (TMJ) MRI scans

The TMJ joints are in front of your ears and are among the most complex joints in the body as they allow for such a wide range of different movements including chewing, swallowing, opening your mouth, talking, and yawning. When the jawbone is not aligned and/or out of sync with other structures such as muscles, ligaments, or nerves, it can cause stiffness in the jaw, facial pain, headache and a ‘clicking’ or ‘popping’ noise in the jaw as well as difficulties opening the jaw fully.

A temporomandibular joint MRI scan can find the cause of your discomfort, as it can show joints, muscles, ligaments, and nerves as well as issues with the bones.

MRI scans are useful in evaluating the soft tissues in the TMJ and are considered the gold standard of imaging for assessing this area of the body because of the clarity of the images of the anatomy it can provide.

Medserena’s temporomandibular MRI scan is carried out in an upright scanner and you will be in a seated position and your head in a coil. In order to achieve a dynamic picture of the joint, the scans are done with your mouth open in some and closed in others for comparison. You will be asked to hold a small plastic sterile syringe in your mouth in order to hold the position.

MRI scans are painless and because in an open scanner your head is not enclosed, they are less intimidating if you who suffer from anxiety about being in confined spaces or suffer claustrophobia, a condition that affects around 10 per cent of the population.

What conditions can a temporomandibular joint MRI scan detect?

There are several conditions that can affect the TMJ and these are grouped under the umbrella term temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD). Possible causes include injury such as a bang on the head, fall on the chin, inflammatory disease, bad posture, teeth grinding (bruxism) and wear and tear damage to the cartilage in the joint. Chronic TMD pain that lasts three months or longer is also associated with anxiety and depression. Short term episodes can be caused by prolonged time spent with the mouth open for dental surgery for instance.

TM disorders include the following and it's possible to have more than one of them at the same time:

  • Myofascial pain: This is the most common form of TMD and refers to pain in the fascia, the connective tissue that covers the masticatory muscles needed for eating, including chewing and swallowing). The pain can be acute or chronic (long term). Experts say this is the most common type of orofacial pain, (pain felt in the mouth, jaw, and face).
  • Headache and dizziness: This type of headache is usually limited to the temple area.
  • Dislocated jaw or displaced disk: Known as internal derangement of the joint, this would be visible using MRI imaging.
  • Degenerate cartilage disease: This is where either osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis destroy the cartilage ‘shock absorber’ lining of the joint, causing pain.

Other benefits of a Medserena temporomandibular joint MRI scan

Open MRI scanners are a stress-free alternative to using a conventional enclosed tunnel MRI scanner, providing comfort and reassurance for people who suffer from anxiety or claustrophobia.

Open MRI scans can also accommodate larger/heavier patients who might have difficulty fitting comfortably into a conventional tunnel scanner, as they can take weights of up to 35 stone (226kg). However, suitability depends on the patient’s body shape and the area of anatomy that needs investigating.

Available to self-pay customers, clients with private health insurance and NHS patients where prior funding has been agreed by a clinical commissioning group.


The Upright MRI is truly open. There are no tunnels, no narrow tubes. The system is particularly quiet, the examination is comfortable and does not trigger feelings of being in a confined space. This means that the Upright MRI is particularly tolerated by patients who suffer from “claustrophobia”.

Because the system offers you an unrestricted view, you can watch TV or see DVD movies on a large screen during the scan. Wearing headphones – as with other MRI systems – is usually not necessary.

According to the current state of knowledge, there is no danger to the patient’s health as magnetic resonance imaging only uses magnetic fields and radio waves.

Metallic foreign bodies within the patient, such as fixed dental prosthesis, artificial joints or metal plates after treatment for a fracture do not usually pose any danger. However, it is important to clarify that the implants you use are MRI-compatible before the examination.

MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) utilises a large magnet, radio waves and a computer to form images of your body. It is non-invasive, painless and does not use any ionising radiation.

Our truly open MRI can scan you in different positions. Through the utilisation of a specially designed MRI system we can offer weight-bearing scans – sitting or standing. The design of the system allows the patient to be positioned in different postures (e.g. flexion or extension) so that the patient may be examined in the position where they experience pain. The reason to do this is that some pathologies are underestimated or even not seen in a conventional supine MRI scan. The technique has value in many applications: e.g. spine, knees, hips, ankles. This has been proven in scientific studies and documented in peer reviewed publications.

In addition, it offers the possibility of performing an MRI scan on patients who could not otherwise tolerate the examination. This may include the claustrophobic patient, who benefits from the truly open nature of the equipment, and the severely kyphotic patient or emphysema sufferer who simply cannot lie down. It can also facilitate scanning of large patients who struggle to fit conventional ‘bore’ MRI scanners.

Of course, we have a comfortable waiting area but if you want them to stay in the scan room with you, they will also need to fill out a safety questionnaire. There is enough space for a companion. The person can even hold your hand and communicate with you during the examination. This is particularly beneficial when examining teenager.

This depends above all on which part of the body needs to be examined. In the Upright MRI, special examinations can be carried out in various body positions. The entire scan generally takes between 30 and 45 minutes. However, since you have the opportunity to watch TV or DVD, this time will go by much quicker.

Eat and drink normally and, unless your doctor tells you otherwise, please continue taking medications as normal. If you have any special needs (e.g. wheelchair access) please inform us when making the appointment.

Your appointment confirmation; referral letter/form; Medical Insurance details if applicable. We accept all major debit/credit cards. 

We will provide a gown/clothing for you to wear when you are scanned. If you prefer to wear your own, please ensure that you wear or bring clothing without any metal fasteners, zips or under-wiring as these cannot be worn in the scan room. The changing room can be locked for safe storage of your possessions.

You will be able to walk into the scanner. It has no tunnel or bore. You will be able to hear us and talk with us during your scan if necessary-and we will be able to see you at all times. Due to its open nature, you will even be able to watch TV or a DVD whilst having the scan. Depending on which part of you is being scanned, you may be asked to sit or stand, and assume different postures (for example bending forward.) The radiographer may place a receiver “coil” around the relevant area of your body. You will need to remain very still while the acquisition is done in order to prevent blurring of the images. You will hear some tapping from the scanner but in general it is much quieter than many other MRI scanners.

You will not feel anything while having the scan. There is no pain or unusual feeling of any type and you will experience no after effects.

YES. There are some things that can prevent you from having an MRI scan. You will be asked to complete a safety questionnaire on arrival at the Centre which will cover the contra-indications-but if you are making an appointment and any of the factors below affect you, please discuss this with us in advance as it may save you a wasted trip.

Contra-indications can include:

  • Pacemaker
  • IUDs
  • Surgical clips
  • Pregnancy
  • Metal fragments in the body
  • Metal pins/plates/screws
  • Joint replacements
  • Metal objects in eyes
  • Cochlear implants
  • IVC filters
  • Metal heart valves
  • Penile implants

It is also important to tell us if you have any tattoos or piercings.

Watches, jewellery, coins, keys, cigarette lighters, penknives, credit cards. piercings, hairgrips, wigs, nicotine patches, and hearing aids must be removed.

Your scan will be reported by a Consultant Radiologist. It will normally be available in a couple of days unless needed urgently. The images and report will be sent to your referring practitioner. If you have a follow up appointment, please make us aware of the details so we can ensure the report and images are available in time.