As we age we learn about what’s normal for our bodies and what isn’t. However, children can be completely unaware of a problem with their body until the problem becomes more severe. For example, what your child may think is normal jaw soreness, you may actually know is a TMJ disorder. With that in mind, it’s important for parents to understand the signs and symptoms of a painful TMJ disorder so that you can help your child identify what’s normal, and what isn’t. So, take a look below to learn more about TMJ disorders in kids and find the best Reno TMJ specialist. 

What is a TMJ Disorder?

Your temporomandibular joint, also known as TMJ, is the joint that connects your lower jaw to your skull. Occasionally, your child may notice mild facial pain or jaw tightness or soreness, which is normal. However, once the pain begins to worsen, it may be time to pay a visit to your Reno family dentist. 

TMJ disorders can cause pain in the head, neck, jaw or face which can make it difficult to chew, bite, and eat. Your child may also experience popping or clicking sounds when opening and shutting their mouth, and even locking of the jaw either open or shut. And while TMJ disorders can affect children or adults of any age, it is more common among teenage females. 

Signs and Symptoms of a TMJ Disorder

The most common signs of a TMJ disorder include facial pain and jaw soreness or tightness. But, there are other symptoms that may develop with worsening cases of TMJ disorder such as:

  • Pain in the face, jaw, around the ears, or in the neck or shoulder.
  • Pain while talking, chewing, or yawning and may also notice muscle spasms around the affected area.
  • Difficulty chewing or biting.
  • Hearing sounds such as popping, clicking, or grating when opening or closing the mouth.
  • Headaches, dizziness, hearing loss, and even ringing in the ears
  • Jaw locking open or shut

If you or your child start to notice any of the signs above, be sure to contact Well Beyond Dental, your Reno TMJ specialist. We will be able to recognize these symptoms and provide your child with a comprehensive treatment plan to relieve their pain and discomfort. 

Causes of TMJ Disorders

The official cause of TMJ disorders is unclear, but there are some known contributing factors that may be responsible. One cause of TMJ disorders could be bruxism which is a condition that causes you to grind or clench your teeth. Other causes include: 

  • Stress
  • Joint or muscle problems
  • Other dental problems
  • Previous trauma to the face or jaw

TMJ Treatment 

The type of TMJ treatment your child receives will depend on the severity of their condition. For some, simply resting the jaw for a few days could be all the treatment needed to help ease any pain or discomfort. And for others, the treatment may be more extensive than that. Once you’ve met with your Reno family dentist, they’ll be able to give you more specific instructions for treatment, but some methods may include:

  • Manipulation of the jaw to fix any locking that may be happening. In this instance, your child may require sedation for the specialist to be able to physically manipulate the jaw opened or closed. 
  • For instances of pain caused by jaw clenching or teeth grinding, your child may be fit to wear a splint or bite plate, also known as a mouth guard, while sleeping to help reduce clenching and grinding. Pain relievers may also be prescribed depending on the severity of pain that your child is experiencing. 
  • Other dental work and even braces may be suggested as treatment if your child’s bite is causing TMJ symptoms. 

Connect With Your Reno TMJ Specialist

If you or your child suspect any symptoms of a TMJ disorder, then be sure to connect with your Reno TMJ specialist at Well Beyond Dental. Our amazing team will help get you diagnosed and treated for your TMJ disorder so you can enjoy life as normal once again. We also offer a comprehensive list of dental services and treatments so your family’s oral health is always a priority. Connect with us today to schedule an appointment!