If your child has been complaining of jaw pain or discomfort, they may be suffering from a common jaw joint disorder called Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, often called TMJ or TMD for short.
This is a serious issue, and while not all kids will require treatment for TMJ/TMD, you should definitely see a dentist like Dr. Belgrade if you think your child may have TMD or any other issues with their jaw. Read on to learn more about this condition, how to recognize it, and your child’s options for treatment.
What Is TMD? Understanding the Basics
Temporomandibular joint disorder, often called TMJ or TMD for short, is a condition that affects the small, delicate joints that connect the jaw to the skull. These joints are located just below the ears.
If your child’s temporomandibular joint becomes inflamed or damaged, it may not function properly, and may cause pain and discomfort throughout their face. TMJ can be caused by a lot of things like jaw overuse (excessive gum chewing, for example), impacts to the side of the face, and even some autoimmune diseases.
Common Signs of TMJ in Kids
TMJ usually has fairly obvious symptoms, and it’s important to know what to look for so that you can get help for your child, if necessary. TMJ disorder usually causes symptoms such as:
- Jaw “clicking” and “popping”
- Pain and tenderness in the jaw and under the ears
- Aching facial pain
- Difficulty chewing and eating
- Jaw “locking” into a certain position, making it difficult to open or close the mouth all the way
If you notice any of these symptoms, your child could be suffering from TMJ or another serious jaw problem, so you should see your pediatrician and a dentist right away to get help.
Treatment for TMJ In Kids
Sometimes, TMD will go away over time and your child will “grow out of it,” especially with recommended lifestyle changes like eating soft foods and avoiding things like chewing gum.
However, some children may suffer from TMD for a longer period of time. This may be due to orthodontic or oral development issues. An improper bite or crooked teeth can lead to excessive stress on the jaw muscles and joints, causing TMJ. If this is the case, orthodontics may help with TMJ.
Treatment with nightguards may also be a great option, and Dr. Belgrade specializes in this treatment method at Miles of Little Smiles. Nightguards help prevent teeth grinding (bruxism), and TMJ nightguards also help shift your child’s jaw into a healthier position, allowing the temporomandibular joint to heal.
Learn More About TMJ/TMD and Get the Help Your Little One Needs!
If your child has been complaining about jaw pain or discomfort, Dr. Mila Belgrade can help. At Miles Of Little Smiles, Dr. Belgrade has lots of experience treating TMJ in children. So don’t wait. Contact us online or call today at (914) 949-6655 to get a diagnosis for your little one, and take the first steps toward getting them the relief they need from jaw pain.