Is your child complaining of 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 can be quite annoying and may affect your child’s 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?
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.
Causes Of Jaw Pain In Children:
Jaw pain in children can occur due to several reasons. Here are some of the prominent causes of jaw pain in children.
- Teeth grinding or clenching
- Dislocation of the soft cushion or disc between the ball an
- Osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis in the TMJ
- Stress, which can cause tightening of facial and jaw muscles or clenching the teeth
- Ear infections
- Facial neuralgias (nerve-related facial pain) (1)
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.
- A popping sensation
- Difficulty in chewing
- Aching and tenderness in areas of the neck or face
- Difficulty in opening or closing the mouth
- 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.
Treatment of Jaw Pain in Children:
Here are effective remedies to treat jaw pain in children.
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.