TMJ, TMD, TMJD…Confused?

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

In trying to get to the bottom of all the symptoms you’ve been experiencing – headachesback painjaw pain, etc – you have probably ran into a lot of different terms, that can be difficult to understand. TMJ, TMJD, temperomandibular joint, TMD. What do they all mean?

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.

Ready to Schedule Your Appointment?

* All indicated fields must be completed. Please include non-medical questions and correspondence only.


Office Hours
Monday - Friday: 7am - 2pm

Accessibility Toolbar

Scroll to Top