Posts Tagged ‘temporo-mandibular joint’

Children and TMJ

TMJ disorders are regularly found in adults only, as they are the age group whose facial muscles, structure, and bones are matured. Many of these adults, though, probably were showing early signs as children (i.e. grinding teeth in their sleep or ear pain with no infections), but had these symptoms either ignored or dismissed as “normal” by their parents or pediatricians.

Children generally aren’t specifically diagnosed with TMJ when they are young; it’s the “baby symptoms” that show up around this time and will later provide an environment that causes TMJ to develop and thrive.

It’s important to pay attention to your child’s complaints about physical discomforts. Sure, it may be nothing sometimes (kids DO say lots of things….often too many things!). But if you notice something strange with, for example, the way they chew, tired mouth muscles, inability to open their mouths all the way, or random ear pangs, you should take them in for an orthodontic examination. This is the best way to fix and prevent problems that could lead to TMJ disorders in their adult future.

Dr. Sperbeck, West Los Angeles


How TMJ May Start, Pt. I

TMJ may develop slowly over the course of years and years or maybe a few months. Some people might wake up one day, discovering that their face hurts. Or maybe they can’t chew like they used to because their jaw just began popping or locking up. Or even rigorous activity in playing sports, or gnawing on some really chewy candy can set off TMJ problems that had been waiting to happen all along.

TMJ is the acronym for temporo-mandibular joint and, along with TMD (temporo-mandibular disorder), is what refers to problems and malignments in these joints that control your jaw. Physically, as we age or grow up, the natural harmony of the muscles and bones used in the chewing system can move out of place or may be altered. Continuous bad habits, rigorous activity, or just the natural way the body develops can affect the function of “small” details, such as how comfortable and efficient our mouth works when we speak or eat.

Dr. Sperbeck, West Los Angeles

What is a TMJ Exam?

A TMJ exam is the reviewing of the systems that move and support the temporal-mandibular joint. In our office, this has several componants:

1. We examine all the muscles and palpate the joints for discomfort. Healthy TMJs are not sensative to touch.
2. We listen to the movement joint with a Doppler. We are listening for bones rubbing and discs slipping. What we hear can also give us an idea of the health of the bone surfaces and the cartilaginous disc.
3. We also measure the range of motion that the jaw can move. Normal ranges are from 38-45 mm for women and 42-50mm for men.
4. Pain evaluation.

Healthy joints do not pop, click or hurt. If any of these conditions are present, or if other concerns are found during the exam, the patient may be referred for additional diagnostic x-rays, such as the I-CAT.

Dr. Sperbeck, West Los Angeles