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Volume 27 , Issue 1
Winter 2013

Pages 42-50

Sex-Specific Differences in Patients with Temporomandibular Disorders

Martina Schmid-Schwap, MD, DMD/Margit Bristela, MD, DMD/Michael Kundi, MD/Eva Piehslinger, MD, DMD

PMID: 23424719
DOI: 10.11607/jop.970

Aims: To explore potential differences in characteristics of patients that might account for sex-specific differences in temporomandibular disorders (TMD). Methods: A total of 502 patients presenting with TMD during 2000 to 2002 at the Outpatient Unit for Functional Disorders of the Medical University of Vienna underwent detailed evaluation of their medical history and assessment of clinical findings. The data obtained were assessed for sex-specific differences by analysis of variance and multiple regression. Results: Overall, 404 females (mean age SD: 40 16 years; range 12 to 96 years) and 98 males (mean age 41 16 years; range 16 to 78 years) were included. Their rating of their pain on a visual analog scale (VAS) showed a significantly higher pain intensity for females than for males (P = .004). Clinical assessment showed a significantly lower degree of mouth opening for females than for males (P < .001). While no sex-specific differences were noted for clicking phenomena of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and for the bite class of the patients, bite anomalies were significantly more frequent in male patients (P = .03). Palpation of masticatory muscles and the TMJ revealed significantly higher tenderness on palpation in female as compared to male patients (P = .001). Grouping by clicking, crepitation, and bruxism also showed greater pain (VAS) and more tenderness on palpation in females versus males. Females also showed peaks of prevalence of TMD in the age group below 25 years and in the group 55 to 60 years, whereas males had a more even age distribution. No external factors, such as exposure to stress, were found that moderated the sex difference. Conclusion: Female TMD patients showed greater pain and muscle tenderness on palpation as compared to male TMD patients. They also showed a different age distribution of prevalence of TMD. These results were independent of subjective symptoms, clinical findings, and external factors. J OROFAC PAIN 2013;27:4250. doi: 10.11607/jop.970

Key words: gender differences, muscle tenderness on palpation, orofacial pain, sex differences, temporomandibular disorders

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