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A risk factor is something that increases your likelihood of getting a disease or condition.

It is possible to develop TMD with or without the risk factors listed below. However, the more risk factors you have, the greater your likelihood of developing TMD. If you have a number of risk factors, ask your doctor what you can do to reduce your risk.

Risk factors for TMD include:

Stress-related Habits

Some of the stress-related habits that may increase your risk of TMD include:

  • Habitually clenching and unclenching your jaw
  • Lip biting
  • Grinding your teeth during the day and/or at night in your sleep
  • Constantly or very regularly chewing things, such as gum or ice, for long periods of time
Medical Conditions

The following medical conditions may increase your risk of TMD:

  • Misaligned teeth or misaligned bite
  • Jaw or facial deformities
  • Arthritic conditions, such as:
  • Synovitis, an inflammation of the membrane that lines the temporomandibular joint
  • History of jaw or facial injuries such as fractures or dislocations of the jaw
  • Muscle pain or spasm of the chewing muscles
  • Psychological illness
Age

Most people report TMD symptoms between the ages of 30 and 50.

Gender

TMD is more common in women than in men.

Ill-fitting Dentures

Poorly fitted dentures are thought to be a risk factor for TMD.

Other Risk Factors

There is some evidence that women taking hormone replacement therapy are more likely to develop symptoms of TMD.

References

Siccoli MM. Facial pain: a clinical differential diagnosis. Lancet Neurol. 2006;5:257-267.

TMJ. American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery website. Available at: http://www.entnet.org/HealthInformation/tmj.cfm. Updated December 2010. Accessed April 5, 2013.

TMJ. American Dental Association Mouth Healthy website. Available at: http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/t/tmj.aspx. Accessed April 5, 2013.

TMJ (temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders). National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research website. Available at: http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/OralHealth/Topics/TMJ. Updated March 21, 2013. Accessed April 5, 2013.

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated November 27, 2012. Accessed April 5, 2013.



Last reviewed February 2014 by Michael Woods, MD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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