How to Help When Your Child Has TMJ

TMJ, or temporomandibular joint disorder, is one of the most painful conditions that anyone can experience. It is caused by damage being done to the joint that is used to open and close the upper and lower parts of the jaw. There are many areas that can be damaged including the muscle itself, the ligament, or even your jaw bone in your mouth. Your child may experience high amounts of pain due to this order, but there are steps you can take to help them like those below.

Apply Ice

To start, the pain that your child experiences from TMJ are caused by the inflammation that exists due to the damage that exists within the joint. Ice is known for relieving the symptoms of inflammation, and it can help to soothe and take away a large amount of the pain, at least for a little while. Create an ice pack that is in a plastic bag or wrapped in a towel, and encourage your child to press it against his or her jaw for up to 10 minutes. It is important that you monitor the time your child uses the ice as too much cold can cause further pain and damage.

Add Heat

You may know that when you have any injury, it can help to alternate between cold compresses and hot compresses. The same is true for your child who is experiencing pain from TMJ, especially if he or she has a tight jaw. They can apply the hot compress directly to their jaw as often as needed throughout the day for up to 20 minutes. After the heat has been implied, encourage your child to exercise the joint to see if it has loosened up or if the pain has been relieved.

Take Away Gum

Gum and other foods that are particularly chewy are not good at all for TMJ, and they can actually exacerbate the symptoms. Encourage your child to substitute their sticky candies and their gums for those that are softer in texture. Look for ideas of foods that can be broken down easily without requiring him or her to work their jaw too much when eating. This will prevent a strain or excess pain that may even require a visit to the doctor if it does not become better in a short amount of time.

Teach Massage Techniques

If your child is younger with TMJ, you can help with the massage techniques that can relieve pain. If he or she is old enough to try them on their own, take time to teach and show them these techniques that will help relieve pain. Show that they can use two of their fingers in a circular motion on the side of the jaw that seems to hurt the most. After this, they should use their thumb to firmly draw a line from their earlobe to the center of their cheeks where the jawline is.

Encourage Relaxation

Stress is known for making the symptoms of TMJ worse over time, especially if it causes your child to clench his or her teeth at night. Even children can experience high levels of stress due to anxiety or due to the social cues that come with growing up. They may even have high levels of anxiety that cause this stress due to school or due to home life. Engage in some relaxation techniques with your children, whether those by relaxing in the bath at night, meditating with you, or even finding a hobby they enjoy. Arrange for TMJ treatment Raleigh NC based for your child so that they can start getting the relief they need.

In most cases, TMJ is relatively mild and is able to be treated at home by following the tips above. If your child seems to be in a large amount of pain, however, and nothing you are doing seems to fix it, you may need to contact a professional. You are sure to find a doctor with a specialization in this disorder and who can come up with more specific pain-relief methods and solutions to the problem.

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