Classification systems help to categorize the pathological variations of the temporomandibular joint. Several classification systems have been used for TMD; with the exception of Wilkes' and Piper's classifications, most other classifications have not attempted to define diagnostic subgroups based upon anatomical variation of the disease process. The Piper Classification is a good working model for the whole range of TMD extending from the normal joint anatomy to severely diseased soft tissues and bone structures.
It is important to understand that TMD is not an all or none disease. It is not simply disc displacement or lack thereof. It is soft tissue disease and bone disease together, so any classification has to take into account both of these processes. It is critical that we understand the type of disease that an individual patient may have before we determine the type of therapy that he or she would be offered. Classification is also important in determining treatment outcome. Hence, an appropriate comparison needs to be made for each type of disease in order to determine which form of therapy may be most efficacious.
Click on the image below for more detailed information about each stage.