How can I determine if I have TMJ or TMD? My jaw pops and my ears crackle. It hurts when I chew gum. This has been going on for about 3 months. Within the past 2 weeks things have been worse. My jaw hurts during the day and my ears plug. Now I almost have constant jaw pain. I’ve been thinking about seeing a dentist but I don’t know if I have TMJ or TMD. I googled to find out but I couldn’t find a website that really explained the difference. Maybe I don’t have either one, but I’m still curious. They seem similar but I want to know the difference so I can choose the right doctor. Cannon
Cannon – TMJ – This is the acronym for temporomandibular joint. It’s the jaw joint that gives you mobility to speak, eat, yawn, and chew. It make sense that when there are issues with the joint, your jaw can pop or lock. Although the letters actually stand for the joint itself, people often used TMJ to describe joint dysfunction.
TMD – This is the acronym for temporomandibular joint dysfunction. It means that there are issues with the joint. If you say think you have TMJ, most dental or doctor’s offices understand that you are having problems with the jaw joint.
What Are TMD Symptoms?
Your symptoms might be related to a TMJ disorder. Some of the common symptoms are listed below:
- Jaw pain
- Jaw clicking or popping
- Neck and shoulder pain
- Chronic headaches
- Ear pain
- Ear pressure
- Ringing in the ears
- Vision problems
You don’t have to have all of the symptoms to have TMD. Additionally, you can have most of the symptoms, and the actual cause can be a completely different disorder.
What Are the Causes of TMD?
Some are listed below:
- Teeth grinding (bruxism)
- Auto-immune disease
- Jaw trauma
- Dental procedures—particularly those that require prolonged mouth opening
Schedule an appointment with your dentist for an examination. Your dentist should be able to accurately diagnose your symptoms. You can find out if your dentist has received training in TMD disorders. If not, you can find one who does.
If your symptoms are not related to TMJ, you might be referred to a specialist, or you can schedule an appointment with a medical doctor.
This blog post is sponsored by Colorado Springs dentist Dr. Joseph Rota.