TMJ is an acronym for Temporal Mandibular Joint, otherwise known as the "jaw joint". You can palpate the TMJ by placing your fingers on the sides of your face, just in front of the ears and opening and closing the jaw. Damage to the TMJ can be caused by clenching,grinding (bruxism) habits or trauma. TMD is an acronym for Temporal Mandibular Disorder. It is a catch-all term for disorders that include or surround the TMJ. Most of the TMD problems arise from muscle pain and spasm surrounding the TMJ. A common cause of TMD is having a bite that is not balanced and clenching and grinding (bruxism) the teeth. Some sleep disorders can stimulate bruxism and lead to TMD symptoms. Stress is another main cause of TMD symptoms. The dentist can evaluate the TMJ area and make appropriate recommendations to relieve the symptoms once a proper diagnosis is made.