• Risk Factors for Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD)

    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:


    People who have a lot of stress in their lives may have an increased risk of TMD. Some of the stress-related habits that may increase your risk of TMD include:
    • Habitually clenching and unclenching your jaw
    • 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 (inflammation of the membrane that lines the temporomandibular joint)
    • History of jaw or facial injuries (such as fractures or dislocations of the jaw)


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


    Women are three times as likely as men to develop TMD.

    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.


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    Dambro MR. Griffith’s 5-Minute Clinical Consult . Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2006.

    Okeson, Jeffrey. Clinical Management of Temporomandibular Disorders and Occlusion. 6th ed. St. Louis, MO: Mosby 2007.

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

    TMD/TMJ (temporomandibular disorders). American Dental Association website. Available at: http://www.ada.org/ . Accessed September 17, 2008.

    TMJ. American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery website. Available at: http://www.entnet.org/HealthInformation/tmj.cfm . Accessed September 17, 2008.

    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 August 2008. Accessed September 17, 2008.

    Revision Information

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