You may be researching TMJ/TMD or how to relieve jaw pain if you experience jaw pain. Even though these two abbreviations are in practical use interchangeably, they are very different. TMD is a condition, while TMJ is a joint. The temporomandibular joint is the subject of both acronyms, which is why they appear interchangeable. However, TMJ stands for the temporomandibular joint, whereas TMD stands for the disorders that affect the jaw joint.
On each side of your face, just below the ear, is present a temporomandibular joint that connects your jaw to your skull. TMD may be present if you mildly press on that region and experience pain.
What is TMJ?
Temporomandibular joints (TMJs) are the hinge joints that connect your jaw to your cheekbones found on either side of your face. Due to the unique mobility of these joints, your mouth can move in any direction or position. Having a wide range of motion is advantageous for both speaking and eating.
The TMJs connect to the jaw, and for both joints to work properly, the teeth and both joints should function efficiently.
What is TMD?
Disorder of the temporomandibular joints (TMD) describes inflammation or misalignment of the TM joints. The term “TMD” can broadly include several related jaw problems that all have something to do with the joints that connect your jaw and cheekbone. This includes problems like jaw and face pain, locking or clicking of the jaw due to movement, tenderness of the jaw muscles, muscle spasms, and difficulty chewing.
Signs of TMD
The following signs and symptoms could indicate TMD:
- Jaw, ear, face, and neck pain or tenderness
- Fixed jaw
- When opening your jaw, you may hear popping or clicking
- Jaw pain when chewing
- Jaw pain in one side
- Opening your mouth widely with difficulty
- The side of your face shows jaw inflammation
Additionally, you may feel ringing in the ears, toothaches, headaches, neck discomfort, dizziness, earaches, and hearing problems. You may also develop upper shoulder pain (tinnitus).
Diagnoses of TMD
An appointment with the dentist frequently reveals any problems with this joint. The dentist will examine your jaw joint mobility and gently press it on and around your jaw and jaw joints during a standard dental checkup. By doing this, the dentist can identify when there is a TMJ problem, at which point they may request an X-ray, a CBCT scan, or an MRI scan. The significance of TMJ and its indications may require these scans and a referral to a TMJ specialist.
What Causes TMD?
Although a particular cause of TMD is not always clear, it is commonly believed that trauma to the jaw, neck muscles, or temporomandibular joint can be a cause. It can also result from:
- A false bite (how teeth fit together)
- You suffered severe jaw injuries in the incident.
- The clenching or grinding of teeth causes pressure on the TMJ
- Disc displacement between the ball and socket
- TMJ arthritis or osteoarthritis
- Stress-related tension in your facial and jaw muscles, as well as teeth clenching
- Teeth decay, gum disease, and sinus issues
Treatment for TMD
Home remedies could be effective if TMD is moderate. Applying cold or heat, stretching, eating soft meals for a time, learning jaw relaxation techniques, physical therapy for TMJ, TMJ therapy, or wearing a night guard are all options. TMD is frequently due to teeth grinding, for which a bite guard for TMJ is a popular treatment.
A Final Word:
Now that the difference between TMJ and TMD is quite clear. You can consult a TMJ specialist in Tupelo soon as you can if you have a TMJ issue and need assistance with treating your TMJ tooth pain, treating jaw dysfunction, and repairing your bite.