200 S. El Molino Ave. Suite 6, Pasadena CA 91101
Contact : (626) 773-8333
TMJ Dentist Pasadena CA

Are TMJ and TMD the Same Thing?

It’s hard to ignore, when something is off with the alignment of your jaw. It can lead from headaches to neck pain to ringing in the ears. Among the most common causes of problems with the facial muscles and the jaw is TMD, or temporomandibular disease. We use the term for a means to describe a problem with the muscles that support it and dysfunction that may occur when something is off with the temporomandibular joint itself, the jaw pain, or both. When something goes wrong, TMD can cause a range of symptoms from mild to severe because joints and the muscles of the jaws are complex and filled with nerve endings.


TMJ and TMD are used incorrectly all of the time. TMJ isn’t really a disease or illness. It’s an abbreviation for temporomandibular joint, the hinged points that connect the jaw bones to the head. Located in front of the ears, we are given the ability by this joint to eat, speak, and chew food. The TMJ glides, and rotates, and acts as a hinge. It’s also surrounded by several complicated protectors like muscles tendons, and joint pads. If these components are thrown off course it may result in problems like inflammation, popping, and pain. This is TMD.  TMD means temporomandibular dysfunction.


TMD will affect different people in different ways. Some of the most common symptoms of TMD are:

  • pain or tenderness in the face, jaw joint, neck, and shoulders
  • pain in or around the ear when chewing and talking
  • pain when opening the mouth wide
  • difficulty opening the mouth wide
  • jaws that get stuck or locked, whether the mouth is open or shut
  • popping or grating sounds in the jaw joint when the mouth is open or closed
  • popping, grating, or other sounds in the jaw when chewing
  • face feeling”tired”
  • difficulty chewing
  • feeling like the upper and lower teeth do not fit together properly
  • swelling on the side of the face
  • ringing or stuffy ears

TMD can be complicated, as its symptoms can be similar to common issues, such as tooth decay and gum disease. They can also mimic conditions such as arthritis. In order to receive a proper diagnosis and the most appropriate treatment, you need to schedule a thorough examination with an experienced dental professional.


TMD symptoms tend to originate from a problem (or many problems) with the muscles of your jaw, or with all the pieces of the TMJ itself. Some of the most common causes of TMD developing are:

  • grinding or clenching the teeth, which puts extra pressure on the joint
  • movement of the soft cushion or disc between the ball and socket of the joint
  • arthritis in the TMJ
  • stress, which can tighten the facial and jaw muscles, or cause unconscious teeth clenching
  • injury to the jaw, the joint, or the muscles of the head and neck

Leaving misaligned jaws or snacks untreated can also place stress on the sensitive components that connect the TMJ causing chronic pain which might be felt through the face, shoulders, neck, back, and arms.


Here at Pasadena Pain Management, we’re able to use methods and state-of-the-art technology to pinpoint the origin of a patient’s TMD. To gain an accurate diagnosis of TMD, I determine the proper posture of the jaw will measure different aspects of the teeth and jaw, and map the movement of the jaw out during eating and speaking. A diagnosis given and once TMD’s source has been found, we will create a treatment program that addresses each patient’s specific needs.

Are you in pain? Give Pasadena Pain Management a call today to schedule a FREE CONSULTATION.

About Pasadena Pain Management

Pasadena Pain Management offers pain management treatment for TMJ/TMD, migraine, headaches and neck pain in Pasadena, CA. Our office is conveniently located with extended hours to meet your needs. At Pasadena Pain Management, we offer the exclusive TruDenta® treatment therapy — a highly specialized form of care that involves cutting-edge dental technology, without needles or injections. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable pain management care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping our patients happy and pain free.