TMJ or the Temporomandibular Joint is the joint that connects the lower jaw (mandible) to the temporal bone of the skull, which is immediately in front of the ear on each side of your head. The joints are different than any other joint in your body because the mandible leaves the socket and slides forward when you open wide. No other joint in your body functions in this manner. Muscles attached to and surrounding the jaw joint control the position and movement of the jaw. A disk shaped cushion sits between the lower jaw and the skull to allow for movement without having bone sliding or grinding against bone.
TMD or Temporomandibular Disorder is the name given to the conditions that negatively affects the joint. Many clinicians and patients use the terms TMJ and TMD interchangeably. Because the TMJ is the most complex joint in the body, many different factors can contribute to its dysfunction. TMD can include problems with muscle, bone, ligaments and other tissues that surround the TMJ. Because of its complexity, it is best to find a knowledgeable clinician that can lead you in the right direction to help stop your symptoms and suffering.