Women and TMD

It isn’t fair, but it’s true: women are far more likely than men to experience the jaw pain we know as temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMD. Treating it is one of our specialties at Poss Sleep Apnea & TMJ Solutions in Brentwood TN.

TMD is a complex condition and its exact causes are not known. But it affects an estimated ten million people in the United States alone. Most of them, by far, are women in their childbearing years, who account for an astonishing ninety percent of all cases.

The temporomandibular joints, or TMJ, are the joints that connect your jaw to your skull. Since we use them for eating and speaking, TMD is not something to be taken lightly.

Though its exact causes aren’t known, TMD is often the result of:

  • An accident
  • Teeth clenching
  • Teeth grinding (bruxism)

Symptoms include headaches, popping sounds in the jaw, muscle spasms, and of course, jaw pain. Many patients also report pain in the face, neck, or shoulders.

Why Women?

It’s possible that women are more likely than men to seek help for TMD, giving us the impression that women are more likely to get it.

However, research indicates that there is a link between estrogen, the jaw joints, and pain. Although estrogen is natural, hormones in general can have many side effects, in particular when levels fluctuate.

Other factors include:

  • Stress. Stress can cause teeth grinding or clenching, which can in turn lead to TMD.
  • Medical conditions. One of the causes of TMD is arthritis, which is more common in women than men.
  • Joint structure. The tissue that helps keep the jaw joint in place is different in women than in men.
  • Vitamin deficiencies. Conditions associated with magnesium deficienties, inclluding TMD, appear to be more common in women.

Whatever the cause might be, there is no need to endure the pain of TMD. At Poss Sleep Apnea & TMJ Solutiosn in Brentwood TN, TMD treatment is one of our specialties, and it begins with a proper diagnosis. Please call us to schedule an appointment.