Is TMJ Possible in Kids?

Most people, including kids, have occasional jaw soreness or tightness. These symptoms resolve without treatment in a few days. However, symptoms can worsen and cause problems that interfere with a child’s daily activities. When this happens as a parent you may ask is TMJ possible in kids? In these cases, it is possible to have TMJ disorder, also known simply as TMJ.

If you or a family member has jaw pain or other TMJ symptoms, schedule an appointment at Trident Dental for a comprehensive TMJ evaluation.

What Is TMJ Disorder?

Each temporal mandibular joint (TMJ) is located in front of each ear, where the lower jaw meets your skull. Muscles and ligaments surround the bony joint to allow movement of the lower jaw in opening your mouth, speaking, eating, and breathing. Problems within the structure of a temporal mandibular joint, including the nerves, prevent the joint from functioning harmoniously and are referred to as TMJ disorder. 

The Causes of TMJ Disorder

Many times, the cause of TMJ disorder is unclear. However, the contributors to the problem can include one or more of the following:

  • Stress.

  • Grinding or clenching your teeth.

  • Arthritis.

  • Trauma.

  • Medical conditions such as fibromyalgia.

  • Teeth out of alignment.

  • Nail biting.

  • Chewing ice.

  • Sleep apnea.

TMJ Disorder Symptoms

The wide range of TMJ symptoms include:

  • Pain. In addition to pain when moving your jaw, you can experience headaches, back and neck pain, earache, and tooth pain.

  • Joint sounds. Clicking and popping noises may accompany TMJ. In the absence of pain, these sounds may be considered normal.

  • Impaired jaw movement. TMJ can cause your jaw to lock open or closed.

  • Jaw fatigue. Typically, jaw and facial muscles used in chewing get stressed by TMJ.

  • Changed bite. You may notice your teeth no longer fit together properly.

  • Dizziness.

  • Numb or tingling sensation in fingers.

Should Your Child See A Dentist For TMJ?

TMJ disorder is usually not a dental emergency unless your child’s jaw locks open or closed. In that case, you should contact your dentist or emergency room immediately. However, if your child has the symptoms listed above, you should make an appointment for a thorough oral examination. Treating TMJ disorder as soon as possible can help prevent problems such as damaged teeth.

How Is TMJ Disorder Treated?

Your child’s treatment will depend on the cause and severity of symptoms. Some minor problems can be regularly monitored by your dentist and treated at home with:

  • Having your child try to relax their jaw throughout the day or whenever there is jaw pain.

  • Helping your child minimize stress and anxiety.

  • Avoiding hard and chewy foods.

  • Teaching your child certain jaw exercises to improve range of motion.

  • Using moist heat on tight facial muscles. 

  • Taking over-the-counter analgesic medications.

If necessary, your dentist may recommend a mouthguard to help with teeth grinding and clenching. In more severe cases, TMJ surgery may be necessary.

Schedule Appointment

Contact us at Trident Dental to learn how we can help you with any questions or problems you might have about jaw pain and other symptoms of TMJ disorder. We provide comprehensive dental services to prevent and treat this painful condition that can damage your teeth and gums.

Schedule Appointment

Scroll to Top