Three Times As Likely: Women and TMJ

Temporomandibular disorder is a condition affecting the jaw, which makes it painful just to open and close your mouth. It’s even painful to say it, and perhaps mercifully, it is usually reerred to as TMJ or TMD. It’s one of our specialties at Poss Sleep Apnea & TMJ Solutions in Brentwood TN.

The exact cause of TMJ disorder can be hard to nail down and may result from a combination of factors, such as genetics, injury or lifestyle. We do know that women are about three times as likely as men to have it.

TMJ disorder is often centered in one of the two jaw joints on each side of the head, though pain may also be felt throughout the head, neck, and shoulders. Scientists are not certain, but the following conditions may be part of why so many people with TMJ disorder are women:

  • Teeth grinding. Also known as bruxism, women are much more likely than men to grind or clench their teeth. It can happen during sleep or during the day. Grinding or clenching may result from stress, which is the leading cause whether you’re awake or asleep.
  • Physical structure. There are differences in bone and muscle structure between men and women. The specifics are not known, but it is certain that these differences contribute to the greater instances of TMJ disorder in women.
  • Arthritis. The jaw is susceptible to arthritis, just like fingers, knees, or any other joint. Women are more likely than men to get arthritis, and consequently more likely to develop TMJ disorder.

Finally, women of childbearing age are in the highest TMJ disorder risk group. Once again it is due to differences between genders: fluctuations in estrogen levels in women in this age group have side effects that put them at higher risk.

If this sounds familiar to you or someone you love, please call us at Poss Sleep Apnea & TMJ Solutions in Brentwood TN. The first step to successful treatment is an accurate diagnosis. We can develop a customized treatment plan. Schedule an appointment with us today!