The terms TMJ and TMD are often intertwined
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the hinge joint for the upper and lower jaw and is found close to the ear. Temporomandibular disorder (TMD) is the term used for problems associated with the jaw, jaw joint (TMJ), and the muscles and nerves that support the jaw joint. TMD diagnosis and treatment continues to be a grey area in our profession. I have studied with some of the most renowned experts in the field of TMJ and occlusion (the sudy of the bite) and the common thread is to begin with minimally invasive therapies. More complex evaluation and treatment may be required if these therapies fail.
The causes of TMD are not fully known, but some may include trauma (whiplash), grinding or clenching of the teeth, a bite that is out of balance, dislocation of the disc with the ball and socket, osteoarthritis and rheumetoid arthritis, and emotional or stress factors. The age group is typically 20-40 and found more often in women. The problem can be acute or chronic and we will discuss some of the signs and symptoms and treatments in future Blogs.