Little Girl Holding Her Head With Headache



While temporomandibular disorder (TMJ) and temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD) are both more commonly seen in adults, it can certainly be present in children as well. These conditions can result in debilitating headaches, jaw pain and facial pain. As a parent, you may be hearing your child complain of these symptoms but aren’t sure what they’re stemming from.

It could be they are experiencing head and facial pain as a result of TMD. Here at the Sleep Apnea Center of Michigan, we are specialists in the treatment of TMD and head/facial pain in children. We also treat adults, but we realize that childhood TMD comes with its own set of challenges and origins.

The biggest thing we see in children is teeth grinding, also known as bruxism. Kids, like adults, often grind their teeth without realizing it while sleeping at night. Bruxism is a medical term for grinding or clenching of the teeth, and is classified as a sleep movement disorder. Please note: teeth grinding is not normal and should be treated. Contrary to popular belief, children do not grow out of this. It’s actually a hallmark sign of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and can set your child on a long and arduous path of lifetime TMD and TMJ issues, as well as orthopedic development problems.

Call us now for a free consultation with Dr. Roman Sadikoff at 586-203-2150.

TMD, Headaches and Facial Pain: The Root Causes

Does your child suffer from debilitating headaches, jaw pain and facial pain? Have you as the parent been desperately searching for a solution for them but haven’t been able to find one yet? We can help.

TMJ disorders can result in pain in the jaw, neck, head or face; problems while chewing or biting; and popping or clicking sounds you’re your child opens and closes their mouth. TMJ disorders can affect kids of any age, but seem to be more common in teens, especially girls.

According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), more than 10 million people in the U.S. suffer from TMJ complications, many of them teens and kids. This refers to several conditions that impact the TM joints, facial nerves and jaw muscles, often occurring when the jaw twists upon opening or closing the mouth.

Jaw clenching or teeth grinding (bruxism) can make a TMJ disorder in children more likely. It tends to overwork the TMJ, which can make a disc in the joint wear down or move out of place. Grinding and clenching may also alter the alignment of the bite and also affect muscles that are used for chewing. Your child may not even realize that they’re clenching or grinding during sleep.

Stress can worsen TMJ symptoms by making kids more likely to clench their jaw, grind their teeth or tighten up their jaw muscles.

Signs and Symptoms

Many symptoms can indicate a problem with the TM joint in your child. Some of the most common to be on the lookout for include:

  • Pain in the facial muscles and jaw joints
  • Pain around the ear, and even in the neck and shoulders.
  • Pain when talking, chewing, or yawning.
  • Popping, grating or clicking sounds when opening or closing the mouth
  • Difficulty with biting or chewing
  • Headaches and ear pain
  • Hearing loss and dizziness
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • Jaw locking

If your child is showing symptoms of a TMJ disorder, bring them to the dentist right away. It’s always better to diagnose and treat a TMJ disorder to avoid more problems down the line. Further testing, diagnosis and treatment may be needed. The Sleep Apnea Center of Michigan will perform a full exam and perform 3D scans to confirm that TMD is causing your child’s head and facial pain.

Contact the Sleep Apnea Center of Michigan

If your child suffers from TMD in Southeast Michigan and you want to know more about how you can ease your child’s head and facial pain, call the Sleep Apnea Center of Michigan today at 586-203-2150.