TMJ and TMD
TMJ is short for temporomandibular joint. It is a hinge connecting your jaw to the temporal bones of the human skull and is located in front of each ear. It enables you to move your jaw up and down and side by side so you can talk, chew, and yawn.
Complications with your jaw and muscles in your face are known as temporomandibular disorders (TMDs) or TMJ. Sometimes, they are used interchangeably. To receive high quality, professional care during your TMD/TMJ diagnosis, you should speak to our team at Jason Widner DMD Family Dentistry.
What Is the Difference Between TMD and TMJ?
TMD stands for the temporomandibular joint disorder, while TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint. The underlining difference between the two is that while the TMD refers to the 'disorder' characterized by inflammation or dislocation of the joint, TMJ refers to the joint itself.
What Are the Causes of TMD?
Although TMD causes are not always clear, it is believed the symptoms could arise from jaw muscle complications or the joint itself. Furthermore, TMD can be caused by injury to the jaw, the joint, or the head and neck muscles.
Other causes could be one of the following: grinding or clenching of teeth, joint arthritis, movement of the cushion or disc between the ball and socket of the joint, and stress, which can cause a patient to clench the teeth, or overly tighten muscles of the jaw and face. Any of these could cause TMD.
Treatment for TMD
Without treatment, the symptoms of TMD could naturally go away in some cases. However, if your symptoms persist, we can recommend various treatment options for you. In some cases, more than one course of treatment can be undergone simultaneously.
Medications for TMD
Pain and discomfort directly linked with TMD/TMJ disorders can be relieved with medications and other non-surgical procedures.
If over the counter medications are not enough to ease the pain, our team may recommend more potent pain relievers for a short time. Tricyclic antidepressants, medications such as amitriptyline, are commonly used for depression. However, in low dosages, they sometimes work for pain relief, sleeplessness, and bruxism control. Muscle relaxants may also be recommended to help relieve pain caused by TMD/TMJ disorders created by spasms of the muscles.
If the symptoms have not abated after non-surgical treatments, we may recommend surgery as a viable option. We would review all treatment options with you in detail to assist you in making the best choice to suit your needs. When considering a TMD/TMJ surgery, there are three types. Our staff will evaluate your situation and your needs to determine which procedure best suits you.
These surgical procedures include Arthrocentesis, Arthroscopy, and open joint surgery. Arthrocentesis is a great option if the patient has no TMJ history but has locked jaws. Arthroscopy, on the other hand, is done using an arthroscope to correct the joint symptoms. The open joint surgery is the most invasive option and is generally reserved for more serious cases.
If you have symptoms or concerns about TMD/TMJ you should start by booking an appointment with our professional team at Jason Widner DMD Family Dentistry. You can contact us at to get started.