Teens and TMJ

Teen holding her jaw in pain

Our practice is proud to offer teens a comfortable and trusting dental home where they can be assured that the doctors and staff understand their unique needs.Our doctors are trained to look at facial growth, tooth placement and relationships with the jaw, the need for braces, nutritional counseling, hygiene aids, preventive procedures and behavior modifications. With that said, we are always sure to screen your teen for TMJ.

What is TMJ you may ask?

TMJ disorders are muscular AND skeletal issues related to the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), the joint that connects the bottom jaw to the skull. TMJ disorders (also called temporomandibular disorders, or TMD) can cause discomfort in the head, neck, jaw or face; problems chewing or biting; popping or clicking sounds when opening and closing the mouth; and, occasionally, a jaw that can be locked open or locked shut. TMJ disorders can affect kids of any age, but are much more common in teens, especially girls.

Everyone has experienced some soreness or tightness in the jaw from time to time. Thankfully, they usually go away on their own within a day or so. However, occasionally this mysterious pain becomes worse – making it hard for your teen to smile, chew, or talk. When kids have symptoms like these, they’re likely to have developed a TMJ disorder, which may require treatment.

Causes of Teen TMJ

Often times your teen is under a lot of stress with school and extracurricular activities. This may lead them to grind or clench their teeth while sleeping – a huge factor in TMJ disorders. TMJ disorders also are more common in teens with other dental problems (like a bad bite), joint problems (like arthritis), muscle problems, or a history of trauma to the jaw or face (commonly seen in aggressive contact sports)!

What to do next?

If you think your child may be experiencing TMJ symptoms, call our office today at St. Charles Office Phone Number (630) 232-6661! Often times, we can advise you on some simple steps that you can do at home to alleviate pain and symptoms before the pain progresses.