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There are many ways you can help children and their families get the care they need.
At Children’s Hospital Boston, we understand that you may have many questions when your child is diagnosed with a temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD).
We tried to provide some answers to those questions here. When you meet with our experts, we can explain your child’s condition and treatment options fully.
What is the temporomandibular joint?
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is located at the spot where the lower jaw meets the skull base. The muscles and ligaments surrounding the joint work together to allow it to move. The health of those surrounding muscles and ligaments — and the health and position of your child’s teeth —all contribute to the proper alignment and functioning of the TMJ.
TMD can arise because of over-exertion of your child’s TMJ. Some examples of conditions that can cause this over-exertion are high levels of stress or anxiety, grinding or clenching of the teeth, or trauma to the jaw.
This is a common problem, which can often be treated at home. More severe cases of TMD may require physical therapy, dental treatments or surgery.
Who develops TMD?
Children and adolescents are more likely to develop TMD as a result of stress or trauma to the jaw. In younger children, congenital jaw deformities can lead to TMD.
TMD can be caused by severalfactors:
If your child has any of the following symptoms, you may want to check with a doctor:
What sort of treatment will my child need?
Treatment depends on the severity of your child’s condition. It ranges from range-of-motion jaw exercises and medications to physical therapy, joint injections and/or surgery.
If your child’s symptoms are mild, home care and anti-inflammatory medications can help. If the condition is more severe, physical therapy, dental treatments or joint surgery may be needed.
Many parents are concerned about TMD and can have lots of questions about the condition and how it can affect their child.
You may find it helpful to jot down questions as they arise. When you talk to your doctor, you can be sure that all of your concerns are addressed.
Here are some questions to get you started:
The surgeons in the department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeryat Children's provide a full range of surgical services for your child — and compassionate support for you and your family.
We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”