Jaw Pain In Children – Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

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Is your child complaining of jaw pain while chewing food? Does he often suffer from jaw pain? Well, if you can relate your child to the above situations reading this post is a must!

Jaw pain or TMJ in children can be quite annoying and may affect your their routine activities adversely. So you need to treat it as soon as possible. Read our post to learn about the causes, symptoms, and treatments for jaw pain in children.

What Is Jaw Pain OR TMJ Disorder In Kids?

Jaw joint or the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) consists of the bone below your mouth (mandible) and just above the mouth (maxilla). The joint allows the upper jaw to close on the lower one. Any injury to the joint and chewing muscles results in jaw pain in children. Jaw pain can occur on one or both the sides of the mouth.

[ Read: Lyme Disease In Children ]

Causes Of Jaw Pain In Children:

TMJ in child can occur due to several reasons. Here are some of the prominent causes of jaw pain in children.

  1. Teeth grinding or clenching
  1. Dislocation of the soft cushion or disc between the ball and socket due to injury
  1. Osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis in the TMJ
  1. Stress, which can cause tightening of facial and jaw muscles or clenching the teeth
  1. Sinus
  1. Ear infections
  1. Headaches
  1.  Facial neuralgias (nerve-related facial pain) (1)

[ Read: What Causes Sinus In Children?
]

Symptoms Of Jaw Pain In Children:

Even though the pain in the jaw is the most apparent symptom of the condition in children, there are some other symptoms that your child may experience along with it.

  1. A popping sensation
  1. Difficulty in chewing
  1. Aching and tenderness in areas of the neck or face
  1. Difficulty in opening or closing the mouth
  1. Change in the alignment of the jaws (2)

Diagnosing Jaw Pain In Children:

As soon as you observe any of the above symptoms in your child, it is wise to visit a dentist immediately. Clinical observation helps to diagnose the jaw pain and its cause. The dentist may also recommend an X-ray, CT scan, and MRI to diagnose and treat jaw pain.

[ Read: Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis In Children ]

Treatment of Jaw Pain in Children:

Here are effective remedies to treat jaw pain in children.

1. Medications:

The dentist may recommend anti-inflammatory medications to help your child’s jaw relax and to alleviate the muscle pain and swelling. Aspirin and ibuprofen are common medications to alleviate jaw pain. Anti-anxiety medications can help reduce stress and prevent teeth grinding during sleep in children. The dentist may also prescribe muscle relaxants and low doses of antidepressants to minimize the pain.

2. Using A Splint Guard:

The dentist may suggest your child to use a stabilization splint or bite guard, an oral appliance that fits like a protective cap and prevents teeth grinding or clenching in sleep.

3. Relaxation Exercises:

The dentist may advise your child to try relaxation exercises to regulate muscle tension in his jaw and allow it to become more loose and flexible. Stress reduction therapy too can help in alleviating jaw pain in children.

4. Applying Warm And Cold Compresses:

Place an ice pack on the affected area for about ten minutes. Then, instruct your child to perform some stretching exercises of the jaw. Now, apply a warm towel on the jaw area for about five minutes. Follow this warm and cold compress alternately a few times daily to reduce the jaw pain and pressure.

5. Avoiding Extreme Jaw Movements:

When suffering from jaw pain, instruct your child to avoid extreme jaw movements, such as yawning widely and chewing gum. Extreme jaw movements may aggravate the jaw pain. Also, offer your child soft foods to eat if he is suffering from jaw pain. (3)

In most cases, these simple steps will help manage and cure jaw pain in children

Did your child suffer from jaw pain at any time? How did you treat it? Share your experience with fellow moms here.

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