For many teens, complaining seems to be a favorite pastime. Often, it’s about trivial matters, however, sometimes their complaints need to be taken seriously, especially problems that impact their concentration in school, their sleep, and their quality of life.
One set of problems that occurs with surprising frequency among teens is caused by temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). When the temporomandibular joint (often abbreviated as TMJ) is out of alignment, it profoundly affects the most basic daily living activities, even chewing and yawning. TMD/TMJ sufferers typically experience constant headaches, facial pain, jaw pain, and popping or clicking noises when moving their jaw. Related problems include dizziness, difficulty eating or swallowing, toothaches, eye pain, blurred vision, earaches or ringing, loss of hearing, and or neck/back stiffness.
TMD issues are often trauma-related, but there are also non-trauma causes of TMD. For example, when surfing Instagram or TikTok, a teen’s head and neck is often in a contorted position causing tension and strain. TMD can also be triggered or aggravated by jaw clenching and grinding (bruxism), often when sleeping, or even seemingly innocuous activities like gum chewing.
Teens dealing these issues should evaluated by a TMJ specialist. Management of TMD often involves multiple therapies, and having a proper diagnosis is critical before committing to a specific treatment option.
Dr. Michele Schultz is trained in managing TMJ, TMD and Orofacial Pain. As a TMD specialist, she offer’s comprehensive examinations for diagnosing and treating your teen with the utmost care.