The terrible disorder of mysterious jaw ache called TMJ disorder or TMD usually affects adults. As if that was not painful enough, it also affects children in some rare cases. Among the children affected by TMJ, females reaching puberty is the commonest demographic. 1 in 10 male children in their teenage too have complained of TMD symptoms. TMD is painful and makes children miss school and renders them incapable of performing daily activities. Hence, it is very important to figure out if your child is suffering from this painful disorder.
Know All About TMJ Disorder
Don’t feel too bad if you haven’t even heard of TMJ disorder before. Maybe you ended up here, only after weeks, since your child first complained of jaw aching. Maybe you just happened to be here somehow. Now that you are here, it is good to be aware of this uncommon disorder that must be treated as soon as possible to avoid needless suffering.
TMJ stands for “temporo-mandibular joints”. These are the joints that connect our lower jaws to our skull on either sides. The TMJ begins to develop as early as the 13th week of gestation but continues to develop for up to 10 years after birth. The muscles around the TMJ continue developing even when a person has reached teenage.
How Could It Happen?
TMD often goes unnoticed because parents don’t expect this to happen to their children. Here are a few telltale signs why your child got susceptible to TMD:
- Injury to the face or head, anything that impacts the jaw structure.
- Excessive chewing of hard inedible substances.
- Crunching ice.
- Calcium deficiency.
- Genetic factors.
Keep an eye on your child’s chewing habits to prevent TMD. You can’t prevent your child from falling down but teach them the trick of protecting their head and face whenever they fall. This will possibly prevent a number of misfortunes.
How To Determine If Your Child Has TMJ Disorder
Since TMJ disorder or TMD is an uncommon health condition, the symptoms are often misconstrued for some other health issues. It is very natural for parents to assume that the jaw ache of their 7 year old child is due to the permanent teeth coming out. Earaches or headaches could easily be mistaken for symptoms of a common cold or migraine. This is why it is important to pay close attention to the symptoms of TMD. Typically, they are:
- Jaw ache, starting at the ends of the jaws.
- Neck and shoulder pain, often spreading from the jaw ache.
- Migraine headaches, no wonder people mistake TMD for migraine, the symptoms are literally common.
- Jaw popping
- Jaw locking
- Jaw clicking
- Sensitive or weak teeth.
If you find your child complain about two or more of these symptoms for more than three days, take them to an ENT doctor immediately and get them tested for TMJ disorder. In case the symptoms are jaw locking or clicking or popping, along with jaw ache, you can almost be sure it is TMD. A quick diagnosis helps in increasing the success of treatment.