Are you starting to have suspicions that your child could have temporomandibular disorder? If this is a concern, you'll want to see an orthodontist right away to get the child's jaw looked at. You don't want to prolong treatment that could be needed or put your child through any more pain.
There are a lot of signs and indications that your child could have TMJ, besides the more obvious indications like having an overbite, crossbite or underbite, or grinding their teeth. Here are a few less noticeable symptoms you'll want to look for.
Chewing is a Pain
Does your child frequently complain that it hurts to chew on candy that is tough or meat or other foods that require a lot of work to cut through? If so, the problem could be that they have pain in their jaw from temporomandibular disorder, and the soreness that already exists is worsened by the chewing. This complaint should be noted and discussed with the orthodontist.
Squinting and Watering
Is your child squinting every time they are out in the sun or around bright lights? Are their eyes constantly watering? These are vision problems that are linked and noted as symptoms with TMJ. If their teachers at school or child care provider also notice that your child is squinting, it may not be because they have problems seeing but because they are sensitive and need their TMJ corrected.
Popping and Clicking
Does the jaw make odd clicking and popping noises while they are eating, talking or sleeping? Can they make the jaw click or pop intentionally if they move their jaw around a certain way? You want to discourage this type of behavior because the noises are caused by friction in the joint, and the friction can lead to cartilage damage and problems like arthritis.
Your child will go to the orthodontist's office and get an x-ray of both jaw sockets so the orthodontist can see what is going on in the joint. If TMJ is detected and diagnosed, the orthodontist may want your child to wear a protective mouth guard to stop the grinding teeth from getting damaged until braces are put on the mouth. The sooner you take your child's symptoms seriously and get to an orthodontist, the less damage will be done to the joint and the sooner your child can start to get relief from the pain and other symptoms they've been experiencing.
For more information, contact Reed & Sahlaney Orthodontics, LLP or a similar location.