Temporomandibular joint disorder, commonly known as TMD or TMJ, is a condition that affects the joint connecting the jawbone to the skull. This joint is essential for everyday functions, such as chewing, talking, and yawning. When TMD occurs, it can cause pain, discomfort, and difficulty with regular jaw movements.
Many people think that TMD can only influence adults. However, this condition can also affect children. Research shows that 6%–68% of children can experience TMD symptoms. Additionally, stress can trigger the onset or aggravation of TMD symptoms. Typically, you may see signs of TMD between 11 and 15. As such, parents and caregivers need to understand the importance of treating TMDs in children. The earlier you can seek treatment for TMD, the better your child’s prognosis will be.
Identifying the Symptoms of TMD
The first step in treating TMD in children is recognizing the symptoms. These can include jaw pain, stiffness, or difficulty opening the mouth. They may also experience clicking or popping sounds when opening or closing their mouth. In addition, headaches, earaches, and facial pain are common with TMD. If your child is experiencing any of these symptoms, it is essential to consult with Dr. Handa, who can diagnose the condition and recommend the appropriate treatment.
Why Treat TMD Early?
It is crucial to treat TMD in children because it can interfere with their daily activities. For example, children with TMD may have difficulty eating or speaking, impacting their academic performance and social interactions. In addition, by treating TMD early on, parents can help ensure their child’s overall health and well-being.
Another reason why it is essential to treat TMD in children is because it can prevent the condition from becoming more severe. If left untreated, TMD can cause the joint to deteriorate, leading to chronic pain and irreversible damage. With early treatment, Dr. Handa can help prevent these long-term complications and improve your child’s overall quality of life.
In addition to pain and difficulty with jaw movement, TMD in children can also impact their emotional well-being. Chronic pain and discomfort can be frustrating and distressing for anyone, but it can be particularly challenging for children who may not fully understand what is happening to their bodies. As a result, children with TMD may become irritable or moody and withdraw from social activities they once enjoyed. In severe cases, TMD can even lead to depression and anxiety.
Early diagnosis and intervention are the keys to successfully treating TMD in children. By working with a dentist specializing in TMD, parents can help ensure their child receives appropriate treatment and support. With the proper care and management, children with TMD can go on to lead happy, healthy lives free from pain and discomfort.