When it comes to understanding the jawline and the different bones which could cause a need to visit the dentist, one that we need to discuss is the temporomandibular. This bone has nice rounded edges, which allows for smooth movement. The structure allows for impact absorption while you eat or move your jaw. For some people, this isn’t so smooth, and a visit to the dentist may be necessary.


For people who have TMD / TMJ, they may experience pain, which occurs randomly, as well as some popping sensations. This can be extremely uncomfortable and cause a daily routine to be off. There are differences in the severity of the condition as well, which may or may not require treatment.


Here is what you need to know about temporomandibular disorders, the differences between TMD and TMJ, and when to seek help.

Temporomandibular Conditions


Temporomandibular conditions fall into three primary categories. They are Degenerative joints, Myofascial, and Internal derangement. These can occur separately or all at the same time.



TMD is often caused by a damaged disc in the jaw and may or may not need to receive treatment. It can be caused by normal eating and talking routines, degeneration, or by a serious injury in the temporomandibular region. On the chance that the disc is not causing too many problems, treatment may not be needed immediately.


This condition can be aggravated by many different stressors or by disorders. Bruxism is one of the main disorders that can cause some of the pain. An evaluation by your dentist can determine whether or not your condition needs a treatment plan in addition to these measures.



TMJ is a term often given to TMD and refers to the same temporomandibular disorders. Though it is often commonly referred to as TMJ, TMD is the term your dentist will likely use. TMJ refers to the temporomandibular joint but may not adequately categorize your particular condition.


TMD involves more than simply the temporomandibular joint.


Common symptoms for TMD / TMJ

  • Pain or soreness in the face, jaw, neck, shoulders, and in or around the ear. Pain is often worse with eating, talking, or opening the mouth.
  • Difficulty opening or a feeling of your jaw “locking or getting “stuck” when you open it wide.
  • Clicking, popping, or grating noises when you move the jaw.
  • Trouble chewing or a feeling that the teeth do not properly fit in one’s mouth.
  • Swelling in the face


When to seek help

Experiencing jaw pain can be a temporary thing or a sign of something more serious. If you experience pain that worsens or does not improve, contact us for an evaluation.


Call our office to set up a consultation with Dr. Balle or Dr. Nguyen at (702) 825-2973. We look forward to serving all your general and cosmetic dental needs.