What Is the Difference Between TMJ and TMD?

What Is the Difference Between TMJ and TMD?

Dec 01, 2022

Jaw pain can be annoying and debilitating to the point that you might need an emergency dentist in Sarasota. Life may no longer be enjoyable since daily tasks will be difficult to complete. You will have a tough time chewing, talking, laughing, yawning, etc. That can dampen anyone’s spirits.

When you have issues with opening and closing your jaw, it usually comes down to the TMJ (you will get to know more about the TMJ as you keep reading). The tiny joint is so crucial that if there is anything wrong with it, you will need to visit our dentist in Sarasota (Dr. Amy Valenti or Dr. C. RomeshWeerasooriya) for treatment.

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of what you can do when your TMJ is out of whack, let’s check out crucial things about TMJ.

What’s the Difference Between TMJ and TMD?

There’s no better place to start than clearing up a common misconception: TMJ and TMD aren’t the same things. TMJ is an acronym standing for temporomandibular joint; it’s a small, delicate joint located close to the ears on both sides of the skull.

The joint links the skull to your jaw, allowing you to open, close, and move your mouth from side to side. In other words, it allows you to speak, chew, laugh, and yawn. However, since it is small, it can become damaged, irritated, or inflamed. Therefore, it might stop operating smoothly, leading to difficulty chewing, speaking, etc.

On the other hand, TMD is an acronym that stands for temporomandibular joint disorder. This is the term we use to refer to the disorders affecting the TMJ.

TMD can be characterized by symptoms such as locking the jaw, clicking sounds when opening the jaw, pain in the face and jaw, muscle spasms, tenderness in the jaw muscles, etc.

TMD can arise because of various reasons, such as overuse (excessive teeth grinding or gum chewing), inflammation, infection, injury, or deterioration due to an autoimmune disease.

In a nutshell, TMJ and TMD cannot be used interchangeably. You will be confusing a disorder for a joint!

Is TMD Curable?

When it comes to medicine and dentistry, a treatment and a cure are quite different. When one seeks treatment, it means that whatever solution there is will be geared towards improving the symptoms. In contrast, when we talk about a cure, the symptoms are eliminated completely.

One of the critical issues about TMD is understanding the underlying cause. Sometimes, people choose the self-management route but never understand the root cause of the TMD symptoms. That’s why you need to seek help from our dentist in 34236, who will examine your jaw, ask you questions and even take digital x-rays to determine the root cause of the symptoms.

TMJ pain can be debilitating, so you might be looking for a cure. Sadly, curing TMD is not something our dentist near you can promise for every patient.

The reason is a myriad of factors can cause TMD. So, each underlying cause will have a treatment mode to solve the problem. In certain cases, we can best offer long-lasting TMJ TMD treatment in Sarasota that will improve your quality of life.

So, is there a cure for TMD? It depends on the underlying cause!

How Do You Fix TMJ and TM0D?

As mentioned earlier, you can barely function when your TMJ is having an issue. So, visiting our dentists at our dental office in Sarasota is the best option. When you come to our office, our dentists, Dr. Amy Valenti and Dr. C. RomeshWeerasooriya, will examine you to determine the underlying cause of TMJ symptoms.

After the examination, the underlying cause will be determined; therefore, our dentist may recommend the following:

  • Lifestyle and home remedies such as using cold packs, jaw exercises, eating soft foods,etc
  • Wearing a splint or mouthguard
  • Undergoing corrective dental treatments
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation
  • Ultrasound
  • Trigger-point injections
  • Botox®
  • Radio wave therapy
  • Surgical procedures such as arthrocentesis, arthroscopy, open joint surgery

In some cases, TMD can go away without any treatment. However, this is entirely dependent on the cause. But whenever you experience any TMD symptoms, reach out to us at Tarpon Shores Dental to schedule an appointment with our dentists.