For the month of November, we are raising awareness for temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders (TMD). Throughout the month of November for TMJ awareness month, as dentists, we should make sure we are educating our patients on TMD or jaw pain. And even though TMJ awareness month is just for November, we should continue to spread awareness throughout the year.

To help our patients better understand TMJ pain and TMD, let’s take a closer look at the condition. 

What is TMD?

Often very difficult to diagnose, temporomandibular joint disorders can mirror a variety of conditions. This is a reason why pain can go undiagnosed for longer than is necessary. 

Health care professionals are often hesitant to diagnose TMD because they are unsure of the causes and exact symptoms, as well as the surrounding muscles that can be impacted. 

What are the symptoms of TMD?

Some of the symptoms associated with TMD can be characteristic of a number of other conditions, making diagnosis very difficult. Symptoms that can mimic the characteristics of TMD might include the following: 

  • Toothaches.
  • Sinus infection.
  • Ear infection.
  • Facial neuralgias.
  • Myofascial pain.
  • Headaches. 

If pain in the jaw area is being experienced, tests will often be recommended to rule out or confirm the presence of any conditions, including TMD.

Patients should pay attention to their symptoms, and visit their dentist for more information on TMD as well as what to look out for. Together we can provide proper care for our patients’ symptoms.