Could you have TMD? or TMJ?

Medically Reviewed By
Jonathan G. Campbell, DDS, FAGD
One of the top rated Dentist in Salt Lake City, UT

Many people mistakenly call TMD, TMJ. TMJ is an acronym for temperomandibular joint. Everyone has 2 TMJ’s just like they have 2 knees, and 2 elbows. But ONE OUT OF EIGHT PEOPLE in the United States are living with pain related to TMD every day. Thankfully, if diagnosed and treated correctly, relief is just around the corner.  TMD is like having leg or knee pain. The pain can be caused by muscles, the joint, the nerves associated with the muslces and and joint. Hence TMD is not a diagnosis, but a catch-all phase for a wide range of conditions that affect the TMJ and associated musculature. TMD is an acronym for temperomandibular disorder. It can include mysositis, myofascial pain, internal derangements of the joint, and inflammation of the ligaments of the joint, as well as a myriad of other conditions.

Common Symptoms of TMD

TMD, or temporomandibular joint disorder, is pain and discomfort caused by problems with the jaw, jaw joint, and surrounding facial muscles that control chewing and moving the jaw.

Common TMD symptoms include:


  • Jaw muscle stiffness; limited movement or locking of the jaw
  • Painful clicking, popping, or grating in the jaw joint
  • Chronic headaches/migraines
  • Pain in the neck and shoulders
  • Earaches or ringing ears

TMD Has Multiple Causes

Adding to TMD’s complexity, there can be multiple causes. While an autoimmune disease or various forms of arthritis can affect your temporomandibular joint, some lesser known causes of TMD include bruxism (teeth grinding/clenching), bad bite, injury, poor sleep habitis, sleep apnea, other sleep disorders, and stress.

Depending on your symptoms, various treatments and solutions are available such as:

  • Muscle relaxation techniques/stress management
  • Oral appliance therapy. A specially designed guard that is generally worn while sleeping.
  • Physical therapy
  • Medication
  • Surgery

Don’t Suffer Needlessly!

If you are experiencing symptoms of TMD or have any questions, make an appointment to come visit us. We’re here to help relieve your pain and regain your quality of life!

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Legacy Dental blog is proudly run by our Salt Lake City dentists team; We share knowledge about general dental care and practices. Apart from running this blog, we offer various dental services such as general dentistry, emergency dentistry, and dental implants for the community in Salt Lake City, Utah

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