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Why More Women Are Seeking This Treatment Than Men

You had probably never heard a thing about temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, disorder until your dentist told you it's the reason behind those headaches, muscle pain and the popping sounds you hear when you close or open your mouth.

In the United States alone, more than 10 million people suffer from TMJ, and women account for over 90 percent of this number. While we aren't sure why exactly this is the case, there are pieces of evidence that may explain why women suffer from TMJ disorders more than men.

Possible Explanations

A TMJ disorder affects the temporomandibular joint that connects your skull to the lower jaw. TMJ disorders occur when those joints become compromised. Some common causes are traumas from accidents and teeth clenching or teeth grinding. Other possibilities include:

Stress. Teeth grinding is usually borne out of stress. Women aren't necessarily more stressed than men, but this is still a significant factor in this condition.

Arthritis. Arthritis statistically affects more women than men. Considering the fact that this is also a causative factor for TMJ disorder, arthritis could be responsible for the prevalence of women with diagnosed TMJD cases. Fibromyalgia is another medical condition that can cause TMJ pain in women.

Vitamin deficiency. TMJD symptoms, among other common conditions in women, have been linked to magnesium deficiencies. Menstruation may possibly play a role in this deficiency of vitamins in women when you look at the fact that TMJ disorders are usually prevalent among women of childbearing age.

Hormonal issues. Estrogen, a female hormone, has been linked with jaw joint pain. Women who have undergone hormone replacement therapy at some point, as well as those who take oral contraceptives, are more likely to experience TMJ pain.

Structure of the joint. The disk between the ball and socket of the temporomandibular joint is held in place by collagen. Some believe the structure of these collagen fibers in women differs from the ones in men. Women are more likely than men to have dislocated disks, a situation that can trigger TMJ disorder.

There's no one reason as to why TMJ disorders affect more women than men. It could also be that more women are seeking TMJ treatments than men.

If you're having jaw joint pain or waking up with headaches, you should speak with a dentist who is familiar with TMJ disorders so you can find relief from your symptoms. For more information on TMJ disorders or to schedule a consultation with us, call 425-329-4687.

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