What is TMD? What is TMJ?

The Temporomandibular Joint is the joint that connects your jaw to your skull….it is abbreviated TMJ. Often times your physician will diagnose you with TMJ. However, the more accurate diagnosis is Temporomandibular Disorder or Temporomandibular Dysfunction Syndrome (TMDS).

The TMJ is a unique, complicated joint and its proper function depends on the coordination of the following:

  • Jaw joints (near your ear canal)
  • The teeth (how well they align and function when chewing or grinding)
  • The muscles of your face
  • The muscles of your head (temporal area)
  • The muscles of your neck.

All of these structures (the muscles, joints, and teeth) must work in harmony or “balance”. This is often referred to as your “Masticatory System” (Chewing System). When one part of the chewing “system” is not in balance, patients will usually develop TMJ or TMD pain.

TMJ or TMD pain typically shows up as pain:

  • Around the side of your head in the temple area
  • In or around the ear canal where the TMJ joint is located
  • Tooth or generalized jaw pain
  • Throbbing headaches that feel more like surface pain than deep pain