Can infrared thermography be a diagnostic tool for arthralgia of the temporomandibular joint?

Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol Endod. 2004 Dec;98(6):643-50. doi: 10.1016/j.tripleo.2004.02.080.


This paper presents a review of the use of infrared thermography in diagnosis of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) arthralgia. The question examined was whether the infrared thermography could be reliably used as a tool to diagnose arthralgia by objectively assessing the site of origin and the degree of irritation. Controlled studies were performed by using advanced thermographic devices to show both diagnostic validity and reliability of infrared thermography as a screening test for selecting healthy subjects from patients with unilateral TMJ arthralgia. The study revealed that thermography fails to meet the criteria of high level of evidence. Further studies are required to confirm these results in order to specify analysis of facial thermal patterns and to better understand the relationship between TMJ arthralgia and regional temperature changes. Until then infrared thermography cannot be recommended for routine use as a diagnostic technique to identify TMJ disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthralgia / diagnosis*
  • Body Temperature / physiology
  • Humans
  • Infrared Rays
  • Temporomandibular Joint Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Thermography*