How Common is TMJ in Children?
Our TMJ specialists offer comprehensive treatment for pediatric TMJ at Koala® Center for Sleep and TMJ Disorders. For more information call us at one of our clinics today or request an appointment online. We serve patients from all over the USA. Locations in Bloomington, IL, Peoria – Dunlap, IL, Lafayette, IN, Mishawaka, IN, Columbia, MO, Kansas City, MO, El Paso, TX, and Wausau, WI.
Disorders affecting the temporomandibular joints are often abbreviated as TMD or TMJ disorders, although sometimes people use TMJ to refer to the dysfunction of these joints. Many adults have experienced audible sounds when opening or closing their jaw which is known as crepitus, in most cases these sounds do not persist for longer than a day or two. Children can also experience dysfunction with either one of their TMJs, and although they may not be able to fully articulate what they are experiencing a professional can help diagnose this condition by looking for common signs and symptoms.
Can children get TMJ?
Yes, children can get TMJ. It most commonly affects teenagers—especially girls—but can develop at any age. In some cases, TMJ pain is caused by the teeth and jaw shifting as the mouth fully develops and forms with age. In these cases, when the teeth and jaw are fully grown, the pain can go away. However, if this dysfunction is not addressed in a timely fashion, it has the potential to become worse and develop into a more serious issue. This may include permanent damage to the teeth or jaw, lack of jaw strength when chewing or biting, or malocclusions. Proper and prompt treatment is essential for a propitious prognosis in children with TMJ dysfunction and can help avoid many problems in the future.
What are the signs of TMJ in children?
There are many signs and symptoms to look out for if a child has a suspected case of TMJ. These include:
- pain in the facial muscles, jaw joints
- pain when talking, chewing, or yawning
- muscle spasms in the jaw
- popping, clicking, or grating sounds when opening or closing the mouth, which is known as crepitus and is generally not harmful on its own
- difficulty chewing or biting
- headaches, dizziness, ear pain, or hearing loss
- ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- jaw locking (wide open or shut)
If any of the aforementioned symptoms are present in a child, it is imperative to have them evaluated for a TMJ disorder as soon as possible.
What should I do if my toddler has TMJ?
If a toddler is suspected to have TMJ, it is vital to look out for common signs and symptoms that can indicate an issue with this joint. If the child is in pain and the joint is swollen, they may have a TMJ disorder. Pain, swelling, and inflammation of the TMJ can be indicative of an asymmetrical jaw or a malocclusion (where the top and bottom sets of teeth do not align properly.) This may result from the use of pacifiers (soothers) or thumb sucking. Malocclusion is quite common in children and depending on the severity, can be corrected with a range of dental treatments.
Which doctor provides treatment for TMJ in children?
Doctors that provide treatment for TMJ in children are typically dentists who specialize in the treatment of TMJ disorders. It is essential to make sure that these dentists are qualified to treat pediatric patients, or else they will not be able to provide TMJ treatments for children.
At Koala® Center for Sleep & TMJ Disorders, we are dedicated to providing you with all of your TMJ needs. Our kind and compassionate professionals are experienced in treating children with TMJ disorders and can help your little one improve their condition and find long-lasting relief. Call us today to book an appointment for TMJ treatment for children, or visit us online. We look forward to serving you!