What’s the Difference Between TMJ/TMD?

blond woman holds her jaw in pain with TMD

If you’re dealing with jaw pain, you may start to hear the acronyms TMJ and TMD floating around quite a bit. The two are quite similar so it’s no surprise if you feel a little bit confused about what the difference is between them. We can clear things up!

The Definition of TMJ

TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint. It’s a long name for the little joint that connects your upper and lower jaws, and there’s one on each side of your head, right in front of your ear. Basically, the TMJ is the joint that makes it possible to open and close your mouth, which means it’s an essential joint for everyday activities like speaking and chewing.

The Definition of TMD

TMD is short for temporomandibular joint disorder. To put it simply, TMD stands for the condition when there is an issue with your TMJ. This issue may be because of inflammation or it can be because of misalignment. TMD has a few different common symptoms, including jaw pain, popping or clicking sounds in the jaw, difficulty opening your mouth, and facial swelling.

Treatments for TMD

Treatments for TMD are sometimes also called TMJ therapy. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to this kind of treatment. For some people, simple jaw exercises to stretch the muscles can do the trick. For others, applying a cold compress to the jaw or taking over-the-counter pain medication is the way to go. Another common treatment option is having a custom oral appliance made for you that repositions the jaw and alleviates the tension. If teeth misalignment is causing your TMD, there are also restorative dental procedures that can be considered as treatment options as well.

TMD Treatment at Reen Chung, DDS

At Reen Chung, DDS, we provide TMD treatment to help our patients get back to a pain-free smile. If you need professional assistance fixing your TMJ or you think you may have TMD, we strongly recommend scheduling an appointment at our Seattle practice. We’re here to help you find relief!

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Reen Chung, DDS

Reen Chung, DDS