Jamie J. Alexander on April 8, 2016

What is the difference between TMJ and TMD/TMJD?

TMJ is the abbreviation for the temporomandibular joint that allows your lower jaw to open and close, and move smoothly from side to side. Muscles attached to and surrounding this jaw joint enable it to move when you drink, bite, chew, grind your teeth, speak, laugh, sing and yawn. Ideally, the movement is always smooth and painless.

TMJD is the abbreviation for temporomandibular joint disorder and is a general term that encompasses pain and dysfunction in some form of the muscles that are responsible for moving your jaw. Most of the time, you will find TMJD referred to in the media as TMD.

TMJ disorders can have a variety of causes, but most typically occur when the teeth do not come together evenly, and when they interfere with the chewing muscles and jaw joints working smoothly.

TMD/TMJD treatment can in many cases be as simple as the use of a night time bite splint to relax muscles and as making small occlusal adjustments to the tops of your teeth so the upper and lower teeth come together in a balanced way without interfering with each other. Sometimes teeth need to be aligned more optimally through orthodontics. Dr. Alexander often partners with physical therapists to help relax and restore comfort to tight chewing muscles.

The most significant symptom of TMJD is pain, although difficult/noisy jaw movement can also accompany it. If you suffer from headaches, earaches, tenderness of the jaw muscles, or dull, aching facial pain, these signs and symptoms may point to TMJD.

If this sounds like you, don’t hesitate to call Jamie J. Alexander, D.D.S., for a consultation.

Leaving TMD/TMJD untreated can lead to long-term oral health problems, including painful arthritis of the joint. Dr. Alexander has pursued advanced postdoctoral studies in the diagnosis and treatment of TMD/TMJD at the prestigious Pankey Institute and is one of southeast Florida’s true experts. Additionally, Dr. Alexander completed a Mini-Residency in Craniofacial Pain, from the University of Florida.

He will conduct a thorough diagnosis and prescribe an individualized TMJ/TMJD treatment sequence just for. Simply call our office at 561-732-8877, and look forward to a more comfortable, healthier future.