10 Dec How to determine TMJ disorder in kids?
TMJ disorder often develops in early childhood, starting as young as three years old. It is important to identify the issue as early as possible, while the jaw is in the developmental stage and can be easily fixed. Learn more about this below to help you eliminate lots of future problems for your child.
What are signs of TMJ disorder in kids?
The top signs of a TMJ disorder in kids are:
1. Frequent teeth grinding at night
2. Ringing in the ear, without having an infection
4. Incorrect bite
6. Pain in the ear/jaw area
All these symptoms might be related to the dislocation of the jaw joint called temporomandibular joint or TMJ. This joint connects the lower jaw to the scalp and is located right next to the ear. If you put your finger next to your ear and start opening and closing your mouth, you will feel how this joint moves.
How to understand the TMJ signs in kids?
Frequent teeth grinding and/or snoring: When the jaw joint is out its correct position, the throat and nasal air system become affected. Specifically, the throat and upper airway constrict. During sleep, in the unconscious state, our body naturally wants to move the joint back, and we start clenching the teeth or snoring.
Ringing in the ear without infection: If doctors do not find any ear infection and your child is still touching the ear frequently or complaining about ear discomfort, it might be a sign of problems with the jaw joint. The TMJ joint, as we said, is located very close to the ear. When the jaw joint is in an incorrect position, it creates tension in the surrounding muscles and rubs against the scalp bone; the result can be discomfort, itching or even sounds in the head. The muscle tension can also cause headaches or even ear pain.
Incorrect bite: Incorrect development of the jaw may cause the jaw joint to slip from its proper positioning, and vice versa.
ADHD: It’s surprising but true that ADHD might be the result of a TMJ disorder in kids. For example, head pain may cause your child to bang his head on the wall or force the youngster to be extra active. Read more about realationship between TMJ and ADHD.
What are the reasons for TMJ disorder?
There are different causes of TMJ disorder that force this joint to slip from its proper position. When the joint is out of its socket, it affects the whole system around it, such as head muscles, facial muscles, ears, and teeth. The tricky part is that there might not be any pain for many, many years, and the disorder might be progressing.
What are the solutions for TMJ treatment in kids?
Your child might be going to a pediatric dentist for regular checkups and cleanings. You even might proceed with braces to correct the crooked teeth so your little one will have a beautiful smile. But here is what you need to know: regular family and pediatric dentists, even the best ones, are not trained to treat any jaw joint discrepancy. Only specialized dentists, such as TMJ dentists who have gone through extensive advanced education in that field, will be qualified to determine the severity of TMJ disorder and treat it.
There are multiple non-surgical dental solutions to treat TMJ disorder in kids. Among them are night guards and splint therapy.