“TMD” stands for “temporomandibular disorder” and refers to problems related to pain and improper functioning of:
• Your jaw joints (which are among the most complex joints in the human body)
• Muscles surrounding your jaw joints
• Associated structures in your head, neck and face (including but not limited to your teeth)
TMD is a medical problem that is often referred to as “TMJ,” an abbreviation for “temporomandibular joint.” It can arise due to problems with your bite, muscle strain or imbalances or, damage to tissues in the head, neck and facial area. Displacement of the disk in your TMJ can also cause TMD.
TMD is often a chronic and frequently degenerative disease. That is why it is important for anyone who is experiencing symptoms — headaches, earaches, dizziness and clicking or popping in the jaw joints — to schedule an appointment for a consultation with a qualified dental professional. This is also true of medical professionals who, like many dentists, frequently refer patients to us in order to rule out (or rule in) a TMD problem when making a differential diagnosis.
The sooner TMD is accurately diagnosed, the easier it is to treat. Although there is no “cure” for TMD, many patients experience relief of their symptoms shortly after beginning treatment. In addition, more than 95% of all patients can be treated successfully and without surgery of any kind!
You are not alone! According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research of the National Institute of Health, approximately 10.8 million people in the U.S. suffer from TMD problems at any given time. Women are most often affected, but men and children can also suffer from jaw-joint related pain.