What is TMJ and TMD? Decoding Temporomandibular Joint Disorders

What is TMJ and TMD?

What is TMJ TMD?     

What is TMJ TMD?

Welcome to your online resource for information on the causes, diagnosis, and treatment of temporomandibular joint disorders often referred to as TMJ or TMD.

You are not alone.

Millions of men, women and children suffer from TMJ TMD, physical conditions that affect the jaw joints (mandible) and the muscles system responsible for jaw function and many have found relief through safe, conservative, non-invasive treatment.

Whether your are seeking diagnosis, treatment or information about TMJ TMD, this site provides a complete picture and detailed insights into the temporomandibular joint syndrome. From a simple introduction to TMJ TMD symptoms to a sophisticated analysis of computerized diagnostics and neuromuscular occlusion therapy, you will find the information here.

Temporomandibular Joints (TMJs) are located on both sides of the face in front of the ears, connecting the jawbone (mandible) to the skull (temporal bone). They're the most complicated joints in the human body, providing rotation (pivoting) movement like all joints, as well as sliding movement, called translation. That's what allows us to open our mouths wide and move our jaws from left to right. Between the top end of the jaw (condyle) and the socket in the skull is a disc of cartilage, which — like the discs in the neck and back — serve as shock absorbers, protecting the bones from hitting each other.

The Joints Work with the Neuromuscular System.

The movement of the jaw is orchestrated by a complex set of muscles, which are, in turn, controlled by the body's local and central nervous system. Together, they're called the neuromuscular system. The whole jaw-joint system is held together by ligaments, which limit the range of motion in all directions — as they do in all the joints of the body.

A Unique System of Many Parts.

The TMJ joint system is unique in many ways. The left and right joints must coordinate, working at the same time for the jaw to move. While the opening, lateral and forward movements of the jaw are controlled by the shape of the bones and are a function of muscles and ligaments, the closing end-point of the jaw movement is controlled by the coming together of the teeth — the bite or occlusion. No other joint in the body has such a rigid end-point limit.

The proper, healthy function of the TMJ system requires normal structure and function of all the component parts, including muscles, nervous system, ligaments, joints (bones, discs and connecting tissues) and the dental occlusion.

What are Temporomandibular Disorders?

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a joint that acts like a sliding hinge and connects your lower jaw to your skull. You have a pair of these joints, one on each side of your mouth. TMJ disorders are a kind of problem that affects the TMJ and the muscles that move your jaw. They can make your jaw joint and muscles hurt.

It is often hard to know what causes TMJ disorders in a person. Your pain might be caused by different things, such as your genes, arthritis, or an injury to your jaw. Some people who have pain in their jaw also clench or grind their teeth (bruxism), but not everyone who does this gets TMJ disorders.

TMDs are a group of conditions affecting the muscles and jaw joint. TMDs can also happen with other health problems, such as headaches, back pain, sleep problems, fibromyalgia, and irritable bowel syndrome. As per a recent study, approximately 11–12 million adults in the US had pain in the region of the temporomandibular joint.

Women are more likely to have temporomandibular disorders than men, especially women who are between 35 and 44 years old.

Usually, TMJ disorders are not serious and the pain and discomfort go away with self-care or treatments that are not surgery. Surgery is usually the last option when other treatments do not work, but some people with TMJ disorders might need surgery to get better.

What is TMD vs TMJ: Difference Between TMJ and TMD

The two acronyms TMD and TMJ are often used interchangeably. But they actually have different meanings, even though they are related. Let’s explain what each one stands for.

TMJ refers to a joint while TMD refers to a disorder. They both relate to the temporomandibular joint, which is the joint that connects your lower jaw to your skull. You have this joint on both sides of your head, just in front of your ears.

Your lower jaw and your skull are connected by a joint that slides like a hinge. This joint is called the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). You have two TMJs, one on each side of your head near your ears.

Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), sometimes also referred to as TMJD, is a term for a group of problems that cause pain or swelling in your TMJ.

TMJ disorders can cause pain in muscles and joints that range from mild to life-robbing. These pains can be self-limiting or a life-robbing for decades.  Self-care may or may not help with the pain. Surgery is absolutely the last resort.

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