Pediatric TMJ Specialist Questions and Answers
Our pediatric TMJ specialist and health care staff offer comprehensive treatment for your child’s 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, Y, Paso, TX, and Wausau, WI.
By the time we reach adulthood, most people have experienced some discomfort with their jaw, either due to an injury, eating hard or very chewy foods or from grinding their teeth. Many children also experience these same symptoms, which may be caused by the same things, such as bruxism (teeth grinding), injury to the jaw, and over-extending their jaw’s range of motion. Fortunately, there are medical professionals who can treat temporomandibular joint disorders in children and help them develop the normal form and function of their TMJs.
What is pediatric TMJ?
Pediatric TMJ refers to problems with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) in children. Connecting the jaw to the skull, these joints are essential for many fundamental functions, such as eating, drinking, talking, and even yawning. When children have a TMJ disorder they may experience pain in the jaw, neck, face, or head, problems chewing or biting, crepitus (popping or clicking sounds) when opening and closing the mouth, and lockjaw (a jaw that is stuck in a closed or opened position). TMJ disorders can affect children of any age; however they are most common in teenagers and affect girls more often than boys.
Why is my child’s jaw clicking?
A popping, clicking, or grating sound coming from the jaw can be caused by several things, including:
- Tooth Grinding — Also known as bruxism, tooth grinding is a very common cause of jaw clicking or popping. Whether it happens during the day or while sleeping, grinding teeth can cause a lot of painful dental problems.
- Bite Misalignment — Misaligned bites can cause mild to severe jaw pain, as well as clicking or popping sounds. This is because chewing with a misaligned jaw puts extra strain on the temporomandibular joint.
- Extreme Muscle Tension — Extremely tense muscles can pull at the jaw, causing symptoms of audible clicking and popping sounds. Learning to relax the jaw muscles is essential in relieving muscle tension and several techniques can help achieve this, such as mindfulness and reduction of stressors.
- Joint Trauma — An injury to the jaw or head can also cause symptoms of jaw clicking. This can include falling and landing on the jaw or getting hit in the face with a ball during sports.
- Arthritis — Sometimes inflammation can cause crepitus, which may be due to disease. Arthritis of the jaw joint will likely present with intense and increasing pain, but it is highly treatable.
What is the best doctor to see for TMJ?
The best doctor to see for TMJ is a dentist who specializes in treating disorders of this joint. These professionals are the most qualified of any professional to treat TMJ disorders and can help ameliorate symptoms and improve the form and function of the jaw joint.
How do you fix TMJ in children?
There are several safe and effective treatments for children experiencing TMJ dysfunction and may include creating a custom-fitted oral appliance. These devices are particularly effective during the formative years from 5 to 12. They can help widen the dental arches, providing the teeth more room to come in naturally, and often eliminate the need for braces or other corrective therapies.
At Koala® Center for Sleep & TMJ Disorders, we are dedicated to providing you with all of your pediatric TMJ needs. Our kind and compassionate professionals are experienced in treating children with TMJ disorders and can help your little one address their concerns and avoid countless jaw-related problems down the road. Call us today to book an appointment for pediatric TMJ treatment or visit us.