TMJ / TMD
What is the difference between TMJ and TMD? Really, it’s not much, unless you happen to be a dentist. You may have heard friends say, “My jaw is killing me and my dentist says I have TMJ.” Actually, the dentist probably said that the problem was TMD. The difference is simply this – TMJ is the temporomandibular joint. TMD is temporomandibular joint disorder.
You probably don’t care about the terminology – what you care about is the fact that your jaw hurts or you have headaches, toothaches, or pain in your neck or on the sides of your face and it just isn’t going away.
Sometimes even dentists use the terms interchangeably. Terminology doesn’t matter. What does matter is that it hurts, and it needs to be treated. Usually. Sometimes, TMJ (or TMD) will go away on its own, but not often. All right, let’s stop the terminology thing. From here on, just to make it easy, we’re going to say TMD.
So Who Gets TMD?
TMD knows no boundaries. It doesn’t care if you’re male or female, black or white, young or old. That said, TMD most often occurs in women over the age of 40. It can affect either or both sides of your face. It is usually chronic and will not go away without treatment.
What Causes TMD?
TMD can be due to arthritis in the TMJ. It can also be due to head or neck injuries. Anything that causes abnormal movement in the head or neck muscles can cause TMD. Grinding the teeth can also cause TMD and in fact, most of the time people can grind their teeth at night without even realizing they’re doing it.
TMD symptoms can include:
- Locking jaws
- Jaw pain
- Popping, clicking or grating when chewing
- Ringing in ears
- Neck pain
From these symptoms, you can tell that TMD can be very hard to diagnose – these symptoms can also indicate other medical problems. That’s why it is so important to get a proper diagnosis.
When you visit Dr. Roger Buzbee to get a TMD assessment, he will check out your
joints for tenderness and pain, and also examine your face’s musculature. He may order X-rays or an MRI. Treatment will depend on the cause of the problem. If you are grinding your teeth, he may recommend a mouth guard to stop your teeth from coming together in the night. He may also recommend braces or crowns. In serious cases, surgery may be needed, but this is rare.
If you are experiencing pain in your jaw, particularly upon awakening, you may have temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). Dr. Roger Buzbee in Springfield, MO can do an assessment and recommend a course of treatment. Call us at 417-888-0771 or use the form on our Contact Us page to book an appointment.