TMJ, TMD, TMJD… Confused?

TMJ, TMD, TMJD…confused?


Jaw Terminology 101. It’s easier than you think.

When you set out on your path of discovery – trying to determine ?what you have and how it affects you – you probably came across a lot of information. Words, definitions and abbreviations left you more confused and simply complicated your search.

Friends tell you one thing while a co-worker explains something entirely different. When you take to the internet to investigate on your own, a myriad of terminology pops up, leaving you more baffled than when you began . . .

Confused? You don’t have to be . . . In terms of your jaw joint and its compounding symptoms, causes and treatments – it does come across as mystifying. There is a lot of misinformation that leaves you puzzled, perplexed and scratching your head.

Scratch no further. Here’s your crash course.


  • This abbreviation is short for the term Temporo-Mandibular Joint.

  • Simply stated, this is your jaw joint; the area where your lower jaw (mandibular) attaches to the skull at the temporal bone. 
  • You have two TMJ’s – one on each side although they work together in unison. 
  • Experiencing discomfort or pain in this area is commonly referred to as “TMJ” when in actuality, TMJ is just the name of the joint


  •  This abbreviation is short for the term Temporo-Mandibular Joint Disorder (or Dysfunction) 
  •  TMD is an umbrella term used to describe various problems that are associated with your jaw joint
  •  Problems with the jaw, jaw joint, and surrounding facial muscles that control chewing and moving the jaw are what causes TMD.


  •  This abbreviation is short for the term Temporo-Mandibular Joint Disorder or Dysfunction
  •  This term refers to a complex set of circumstances that can cause pain in the area of the jaw joint and associated muscles and/or problems using the jaw.

While each of these terms is referencing the same part of your body and the problems associated with it, the terms are often used interchangeably. Because it is the most commonly used and recognizable term, throughout this website we will refer to it as TMJ.

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