When discussing jaw pain, there are two abbreviations you should be familiar with: TMJ and TMD.

TMJ stands for Temporomandibular Joints. These two joints connect your lower jaw bone to your skull.

TMD stands for Temporomandibular Disorder.

The temporomandibular joint is the proper term for the joints and jaw muscles that sit on either side of our skull. Luckily for us, TMJ is the abbreviation used to describe these joints. If you place your finger right next to your earlobe and move your jaw as if you are chewing something, you will be able to feel the temporomandibular joint as it slides up and down. The muscles and ligaments attached to the TMJ help you chew, swallow, and speak.

When you start to feel stiffness or pain in your jaw, neck, or you have frequent headaches, it could be caused by a condition known as Temporomandibular Disorder. Typically, symptoms of TMD can be relieved with over-the-counter medications. However, if the joint becomes severely stressed, eroded, or damaged, it can lead to painful symptoms that must be seen by your dentist.

What is the most common cause of TMD?

There can be a variety of reasons that would cause the joint to stop working efficiently or without pain. Teeth grinding at night is the most common cause of TMD. Here are some things you can try to relax your jaw and stop grinding. 

TMJ/TMD HeadachesDo you experience pain in your face, jaw, neck, or suffer from frequent headaches?

If so, an evaluation is necessary to determine the cause.

When you visit us at Milford Dental Excellence, we will work with you to determine the cause of your TMD. We will check your jaw for any popping or clicking, joint and muscle sensitivity, or stiffness in the jaw. Then, we will work with you to implement an appropriate treatment plan.

If your TMJ is functioning correctly, your jaw should move in a smooth, pain-free manner while talking, eating, yawning, etc. If either TMJ is misaligned, you may experience pain and discomfort throughout the area (TMD).

If you believe that you are suffering from a temporomandibular disorder, get in contact with us!

Symptoms of TMD:

  • Headache
  • Neck pain
  • Ear pain
  • Constant ear ringing
  • Clicking and/or popping in your jaw
  • Inflammation on the side of your face
  • Lockjaw
  • Trouble fully opening your mouth
  • Misalignment of the top and bottom teeth

If you suffer from one or more of the above symptoms, you should schedule a visit with our dentists. We’ll create a treatment plan to address your specific case of TMD.

Disorders that may cause TMD:

  • Misalignment of the teeth and jaw
  • Teeth grinding
  • Dislocated jaw
  • Facial injury
  • Arthritis
  • Stress

Patient Testimonial

Office is amazing! Wouldn’t go anywhere else in town. Have been going here about 8 years and the entire staff is phenomenal! My 7 year old even loves coming to the dentist. They have helped me with exams, Affordable teeth whitening, procedures, and and a night time mouth guard to prevent grinding at night due to TMJ symptoms. They are great and give you personal attention and remember u every time u come back! Treat you like your family!

Kimberly P.