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So, what the heck is TMJ or TMD?

Defining TMJ can be a difficult thing for people because there are so many different definitions floating around out there. A co-worker tells you one thing while a friend tells you something completely different. Then, when you google TMJ, countless terminology pops-up, leaving you more baffled than when you began . . .

In terms of your jaw joint and its symptoms, causes and treatments – it can come across as overwhelming. There are a lot of half truths out there that leave you puzzled, perplexed and scratching your head. TMJ is an abbreviation for the term Temporo-Mandibular Joint. In basic terms, this is your jaw joint; the area where your lower jaw attaches to the skull at the temporal bone.

You actually have two TMJ’s – one on each side of your face, although they work in together to move your jaw.  When you experience irritation or pain in this area, it is commonly referred to as “TMJ” when in truth, TMJ is just the name of the joint. TMD is the correct term for the ‘pain’ – standing for Temporo-Mandibular Joint Disorder.

Terminology 101

This abbreviation is short for the term Temporo-Mandibular Joint.

TMJ is essentially your jaw joint. This is the area where your lower jaw (mandibular) attaches at the temporal bone to the skull. Everyone has two TMJ’s –one on each side of your head, however, they work in unison.

Experiencing pain or discomfort in this area is frequently referred to as “TMJ” when in truth, TMJ is just the name of the joint.

This abbreviation is short for the term Temporo-Mandibular Joint Disorder.

TMD is a more general term used when describing numerous problems related to your jaw joint.
Problems with your jaw, jaw joint and the facial muscles that control chewing and moving the jaw are at the root of what causes TMD.

This abbreviation is short for the term Temporo-Mandibular Joint Disorder.
TMJD refers to an intricate and complicated set of circumstances that cause pain in the jaw joint and the associated muscles that use the jaw.
While each of these terms basically references the same area of your body (and the pain and problems you experience in this area) the terms are often used interchangeably. Because it is the most commonly used and recognizable term, overall it’s generally referred to as TMJ.

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Dr. Tim Stirneman

Dr. Tim | All Smiles DentalWhere you see a problem, we see an opportunity. An opportunity to make your life better, whether through a cleaning or a complete mouth restoration. Whatever your reason for seeing a dentist, we hope in the end you see us as more than a dentist. We want to build a relationship that lasts a lifetime.