Temporomandibular Disorder, or TMD, is a jaw dysfunction that affects 35 million people in the US, with around 150,000 people diagnosed per year. TMD is a difficult disorder to properly diagnose, and the causes of the disorder are still being studied, however medical and dental experts are in agreement about one thing concerning TMD, and it’s that women are much more likely to be diagnosed with it than men.
In multiple studies done on TMD sufferers, doctors found that women are five times more likely to suffer from TMD than men, illustrated well by the fact that the number of women represented in these medical studies were always much greater than the men. There is no definitive reason for this, but medical experts have a few theories. One is that it boils down to anatomy; specifically, men’s upper jaw bones tend to be thicker than women’s, and the socket where the upper and lower jaw bones meet are deeper, putting less stress on the temporomandibular joint in general.\
Medical experts also believe that a large number of the TMD cases found in women could be caused by an excess of estrogen and progesterone. Many female TMD sufferers are between the ages of 19 and 35, which is around the same time that the body is producing those two hormones in abundance for the purposes of menstruation and pregnancy
One of the leading causes of TMD is excessive grinding or clenching of teeth, a classic sign of stress. This is not to say that either men or women experience more stress, but it may be an indication of how they deal with it.
Arthritis is another cause of TMD, a medical issue that is found in 26% of women and 18% of men, another factor that contributes to the higher numbers of women being diagnosed with TMD than men.
Don’t suffer in silence. TMD is difficult to diagnose because of the location of the temporomandibular joint, and it’s proximity to other easily irritated parts of the face; however, once TMD has been diagnosed it can be treated, and should. If you are experiencing any of the typical TMD symptoms, such as a popping jaw, difficulty opening your mouth, or pain while chewing, contact your dentist immediately. And if you have any questions about TMD, or would like to be checked for it, call C&C Dentistry to book an appointment today.