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Can Children be Diagnosed with TMD?

Can Children be Diagnosed with TMD?

When you think of Temporomandibular Joint Disorders (often referred to as TMD or TMJ disorders), you might picture adults seeking relief from persistent jaw pain or those who suffer from chronic headaches. Rarely do we consider that children, too, might experience the symptoms of TMD. But is it possible? Can children truly be diagnosed with TMD? The answer, perhaps surprising to some, is a resounding yes.

As a specialist in this field, I’ve delved deep into the various aspects of TMD. Dr. Nojan Bakhtiari, and is dedicated to providing effective TMJ treatment to patients of all ages. In this article, we will explore the nuances of TMD in children and discuss its implications.

Understanding TMD

Before diving into the specifics of children with TMD, it’s crucial to establish a clear understanding of the disorder. The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) acts as a hinge, connecting your jawbone to your skull. Disorders related to this joint are collectively termed TMD. These disorders can cause pain in your jaw joint and the muscles controlling jaw movements.

Symptoms of TMD include:

  • Pain or tenderness in the jaw
  • Aching pain around the ear
  • Difficulty or discomfort while chewing
  • Facial pain
  • TMJ joint locking, making it challenging to open or close the mouth

TMD in Children: How Common Is It?

While TMD is typically associated with adults, children are not immune to it. However, diagnosing TMJ disorders in children can be a bit more challenging. The symptoms can be subtle, and children might not always be able to articulate the pain or discomfort they are feeling.

Additionally, children are still growing, which means their musculoskeletal system is in constant flux. This evolution can mask the symptoms of TMD or be mistaken for typical growth-related pains.

Causes of TMD in Children

Just as with adults, the causes of TMD in children can be multifaceted. Some common reasons include:

  • Injuries: A blow or trauma to the jaw can lead to TMD.
  • Arthritis: Juvenile arthritis can affect the TMJ, leading to TMD symptoms.
  • Bruxism: Children who clench or grind their teeth, especially during sleep, can develop TMD.
  • Orthodontic Treatments: Braces and other dental treatments can sometimes contribute to TMJ pain, although this is relatively rare.
  • Stress: Yes, even children can be subjected to stress, leading them to clench their jaws or grind their teeth.

Diagnosing TMD in Children

As with any medical condition, accurate diagnosis is crucial. If you believe your child might be suffering from TMD, it’s essential to consult a TMJ specialist like Dr. Nojan Bakhtiari. An experienced specialist can differentiate between typical growing pains or other issues and genuine TMJ disorders.

The diagnostic process generally involves:

  1. A Detailed Medical History: Understanding when and how the symptoms started can offer insights into potential TMD.
  2. Physical Examination: This involves checking the jaw for pain or tenderness, listening for clicks or pops during jaw movement, and assessing the jaw’s range of motion.
  3. Imaging: In some cases, X-rays, CT scans, or MRIs might be needed to get a detailed view of the TMJ.

TMJ Treatment for Children

The treatment for TMD in children, as with adults, is centered on relieving symptoms. Since TMD can often resolve on its own, non-invasive treatments are usually preferred initially.

Some of the common TMJ treatments for children include:

  • Pain Relievers and Anti-inflammatories: Over-the-counter pain medications can be helpful, but always consult a physician before giving any medication to children.
  • Muscle Relaxants: For children who grind or clench their teeth, these might be beneficial.
  • Therapies: Physical therapy exercises can strengthen jaw muscles, and counseling can help children cope with stress.
  • Night Guards or Bite Guards: These dental devices can be beneficial for children who clench or grind their teeth.
  • Surgery: This is rarely required and only considered when all other treatments have failed and if the situation is severe.


TMD is not an adults-only disorder. Children, although less frequently, can indeed suffer from TMD. Recognizing the signs and symptoms early can make a significant difference in management and outcome.

If you suspect your child might be exhibiting signs of TMD, it’s essential to consult with a TMJ specialist. Dr. Nojan Bakhtiari and his team are always ready to offer their expertise, ensuring that patients of all ages receive the best possible TMJ treatment. Remember, TMJ pain isn’t something anyone should have to endure, irrespective of their age. With the right care and intervention, relief is within reach.

TMJ Treatment by Dr. Nojan Bakhtiari

Dr. Nojan Bakhtiari is a highly experienced cosmetic dentist and one of the leading providers of Botox for TMJ and headaches in New York City, NY. With years of experience and a commitment to providing the highest quality care, Dr. Bakhtiari is an expert in the use of Botox for the treatment of TMJ disorder and headaches.

Dr. Bakhtiari has a deep understanding of the underlying causes of TMJ disorder and headaches, and has extensive experience in using Botox to treat these conditions. He uses a combination of the latest techniques and technologies, including Botox injections, to provide his patients with the most effective treatment possible.

If you are looking for a safe and effective way to treat your TMJ disorder or headaches, Dr. Bakhtiari and his team are here to help. With their expertise and commitment to providing the highest quality care, you can trust that you will receive the best possible treatment for your condition.

To learn more about Botox & TMJ treatment by Dr. Nojan Bakhtiari & schedule your consultation today!