Researchers have conducted a number of studies on TMD patients, trying to determine if hereditary factors play a part in the onset of TMD or in the development of TMD from acute (a one-time or short-term incident) to chronic (a more permanent condition). There’s essentially no question that genes play a role in the development of TMD, but their role is complex and influenced by many other variables. Research into this topic is relatively new, but doctors are finding important links between TMD and genetics.
Genes Affect Pain Tolerance
Researchers found that TMD patients who have a lower threshold for pain experienced their TMD symptoms more profoundly than those with “normal” pain responses when transitioning from acute TMD to chronic TMD.
Your genes, along with psychological and other factors, play a role in how you tolerate pain. While the connection between pain tolerance and genes doesn’t address TMD specifically, those with lower pain tolerance may be more likely to seek treatment and discover that TMD is present.
Genes Affect the Development of TMD…But Which Ones?
Medical researchers have discovered possible genetic dispositions that can make a person more likely to develop TMD. Some suggest that once it is developed, it becomes more severe and chronic.
But the research isn’t perfect yet. What is lacking at this point in TMD research is pinpointing a specific gene or genes that are responsible. While a genetic correlation likely exists, researchers have yet to find DNA codes that could cause the onset of TMD.
Researchers have begun to look at patients who do not have TMD but have other risk factors that could lead to the development of TMD. This method is proving fruitful. In all, researchers have studied 8 risk factors for TMD and found that all of them have a significant link to certain genetic sequences.
An important thing to remember is that TMD is multifactorial, which means it is brought about not by a single cause or gene but by the interaction of different genes along with environmental and behavioral factors. This fact makes it very important for each individual patient to be a diligent participant their own health care and outcomes. If you think you have TMD, seek help from a neuromuscular dentist.
While no specific genome or genetic marker has yet been found to be accurately identified as “the one” to definitively mark a patient for TMD, research does continue. Each new finding brings the possibility for new treatments, new drugs, and new hope for those who suffer from TMD.