TMJ dysfunction, often referred to as simply TMD, can refer to any number of conditions that affect how the jaw joint works. It may be marked by pain the face and jaw, difficulty chewing, chronic headaches, and a broad range of other symptoms. While TMD can afflict anyone, research indicates that it is much more common in women than in men. A TMJ dentist in Virginia Beach is here to discuss the correlation between gender and TMD and possible reasons behind it.
Gender and TMD Occurrence
Here are a few statistics that shed light on the correlation between gender and TMD:
- Women between the ages of 18 and 44 are most likely to seek treatment for TMD. The age of men does not seem to affect their likelihood of seeking TMD treatment.
- The worse the TMD symptoms are, the greater the ratio of female to male patients becomes. Women are 9 times more likely to seek treatment for severe jaw dysfunction and chronic TMJ-related pain than men.
Why Is It More Common in Women?
Researchers have not reached any firm conclusions as to why women are more likely than men to seek TMD treatment. However, they consider the following as possible reasons for the correlation:
- Hormones. Women of childbearing age are most likely to suffer from TMD, so the prevalence of the condition may be related to their monthly hormonal cycle. The jaw even has estrogen receptors that may affect pain sensitivity.
- Vitamin deficiencies. Menstruation can contribute to deficiencies of certain vitamins and minerals, such as magnesium. These deficiencies may contribute to muscle tension, spasms, and pain in the facial muscles.
- Jaw anatomy and physiology. There may be subtle differences in the way the jaw is structured between men and women that influence the likelihood of TMD.
- Related medical conditions. Arthritis can be a contributing factor to the development of TMD. Arthritis is more common in women than in men.
Finding Relief from TMD
Regardless of your gender, if you are suffering from TMD symptoms, it would be wise to consult with a doctor or dentist in Virginia Beach who has the training and experience necessary to help you find relief from your TMJ problems. After they ask you some questions and examine your teeth and jaw, they will be able to recommend an appropriate treatment. For example, they may use a TENS machine to relax tense facial muscles before they consider other therapies that may provide a permanent solution for your TMD.
TMD is a prevalent problem among women of childbearing age. Fortunately, long-lasting relief may be as simple as visiting a local dentist.
About the Author
Dr. Carol Morgan has more than 20 years of experience in her field. As a Fellow of the prestigious Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies, she has completed extensive training in neuromuscular dentistry. She puts her knowledge to work to help patients conquer their TMD. To learn more about Dr. Morgan and her services, contact our practice at 757-412-1400.