If a child is experiencing pain near their ear, their jaw and/or the muscles on the side of their face, accompanied by a clicking or popping sound (or restricted jaw movement), they may have TMD. This is a group of conditions involving pain and dysfunction of the “TMJ,” aka the temporomandibular (jaw) joint. Children going through significant stress can experience jaw problems. If they have a dental issue, such as a “bad bite,” or joint problems, such as arthritis, that could be contributing to their TMD… as could trauma to their jaw or face.
The source of a TMD problem could be a disc, muscles, or a joint. Did you know large muscles in the cheeks and temples move the lower jaw? The lower jaw and temporal bone fit together as a ball and socket with a cushioning disc in between. When something’s wrong in this area of the body, a person will often have pain as well as trouble opening or closing their jaw. And yes, even young children can experience TMD issues.
If your child is telling you he or she has muscle pain in the cheeks or temples, it could be TMD. They might be clenching or grinding their teeth every night. If they are, that means they’re not allowing those certain muscles to relax. And they’re putting more and more pressure on their jaw joints.
Can children be treated for TMD issues? Certainly. Chiropractors can help kids feel better. For instance, sometimes a softer diet can help reduce stress put on their joints and muscles. Ice and/or heat applied to the face can help with soreness and inflammation. And if there’s a muscle spasm happening, a chiropractor can help stretch the muscle so it calms down quickly.
In Forest Lake, MN, call Lakewoods Chiropractic at 615-464-0800 to make an appointment and get some relief for the child in your life who is experiencing jaw pain and problems.