girl with jaw pain

January 13, 2015

TMD vs. TMJ – Which One Is It?

Lately at Orthodontics of Burien, we have been getting a large volume of questions about TMD and TMJ. That’s why we thought it would be beneficial for everybody if we gave an overview of what these acronyms actually stand for, what symptoms you may be experiencing if you are suffering from a jaw disorder, and how our Seattle orthodontics team can help.

Why Does it Seem Like TMJ and TMD Refer to the Same Thing?

First off, let’s take a look at what those acronyms actually stand for:

  • TMJ refers to the temporomandibular joint, which is the ball and socket joint that connects your jaw bone to the rest of your head.
  • TMD on the other hand, stands for temporomandibular disorder, which, as indicated by the “disorder” portion, is something that is diagnosable and symptomatic.

The confusion arises because TMJ and TMD are both used interchangeably, even by some orthodontists, to describe tempomandibular disorders. This is why, while TMD is the correct way to denote this group of disorders and TMJ only refers to the actual joint, you see both TMJ and TMD used to describe the same set of symptoms and diagnosis.

What Is TMD and What Are The Symptoms?

TMD refers to most disorders that affect the TMJ, jaw muscles, or facial nerves. The cause of these disorders is not known, but trauma to the area can increase the chance of suffering from a TMD. Symptoms include severe pain around the ear and jaw, difficulty shutting the mouth, clicking in the jaw, and jaw tenderness.

How Can Orthodontics of Burien Help?

Orthodontics of Burien has extensive experience in treating TMD and is here to help. First, you will need to schedule an appointment with Dr. Peralta so we can properly diagnose whether you are suffering from TMD or from something else with similar symptoms. Once diagnosis has been confirmed, we will work with you to create an extensive treatment plan.

Thank you for reading about TMJ/TMD from Orthodontics of Burien! If you are suffering from TMD-like symptoms, or have any questions about orthodontic diseases or treatments, feel free to contact us today and one of our friendly staff members will be happy to assist you.