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TMJ vs TMD: What's the Difference?


Does your jaw hurt, click and pop? You might have a disorder called TMJ/TMD.

The temporomandibular joint is the most complex, and most frequently used joint in the body. It is responsible for the smooth opening and closing of the jaw, but the symptoms of temporomandibular dysfunction can be severe.

But TMJ vs TMD, which acronym do you use? People often use these terms synonymously but they actually have very different meanings. Get informed about TMJ terminology so that you can talk accurately about your condition.

Read on for our dummy guide to the difference between TMJ and TMD.

TMJ vs TMD: What's the Difference?

First, the temporomandibular joint is abbreviated to TMJ. This joint is essential for jaw movement and everyone has one. As the TMJ is so small and complex, it can easily become damaged through injury, inflammation, or tension.

When there are issues with the TMJ, people experience pain in the jaw, noises in the jaw and ears, headaches, and neck pain. If you’re experiencing these symptoms you might be diagnosed with TMD.

TMJ is the joint, TMD is the disorder.

Now, temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). This term is used as an umbrella term for many disorders that can affect the TMJ. They can be caused by teeth grinding, arthritis in the joint, stress, and injury.

If you think you have TMD, it's best to seek medical advice as self-diagnosing can be inaccurate and you may end up wasting money on ineffective treatments. A physician will be able to look and listen to your TMJ and feel around your jaw bone for any abnormalities.

X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans can all help to assist in the diagnosis of TMD.

What Can I Do to Relieve TMD Symptoms?

The symptoms related to TMD can be uncomfortable and painful, leading to a host of symptoms.

The first-line treatment for TMD is home management advice. Lifestyle modification (e.g. stress reduction, avoiding yawning too wide, eating chewy foods, and chewing gum) can help decrease symptoms of TMD.

Because the main treatments are completed at home, it's even more important to understand the complexities of TMD. If you're looking for more information or need medical advice, make sure to check out this guide all about TMJ.

Other treatments include personalized dental splints, steroid injections, botox injections, and in the most severe cases, surgery. But, these treatment options are only recommended when home management has not been effective.

The Bottom Line on Jaw Disorders

Now you know the difference between TMJ vs TMD. Once you understand how these two acronyms are different, it's time to get them into your vocabulary!'

All you need to remember is: TMJ is the joint, TMD is the disorder.

If you have TMD, make sure you seek medical advice and begin educating yourself about the different TMD remedies you can try.

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