Jaw Pain In Children

Jaw Pain In Children: Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

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Children who experience jaw pain might find it uncomfortable since it hinders their ability to speak or eat. The most common cause of jaw pain is problems involving the temporomandibular joint, or TMJ. Preventing jaw pain only requires a correct diagnosis.

This post from kidsrush.com explains how to prevent jaw pain in children and treatment options for treating it.

Jaw Pain In Children: Possible Causes

Jaw Pain In Children: Possible Causes
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Injuries and medical conditions are the most common reasons for jaw pain in children.

Temporomandibular joint dysfunction: Teeth grinding, stress or clenching can result in TMJ dysfunction, as can overexertion, anxiety, or emotional issues. [1]

Headache or cluster headaches: The occurrence of cluster headaches being rare in children could be one reason for jaw pain. Generally, this type of headache begins in one part of the head and spreads to the nose, cheek, jaw, and back. [2]

Infections: For instance, osteomyelitis, a bacterial infection that results in jaw pain in children, can cause pain in the jaw due to infections in the ear, teeth, or jaw area. [3]

Dental problems: Abscessed teeth and certain dental infections can cause swelling in the jaw and pain.

Bruxism (teeth grinding): The TMJ or surrounding muscles may become stiff or painful as a result of frequent clenching or grinding. This pain could give rise to jaw pain.

Chest pain: Sometimes jaw pain can arise from chest pain. The pain radiates from the chest to the neck to the jaw and shoulder.

Broken jaw: Trauma may cause a lower jaw fracture. This leads to swelling and discomfort.

Joint pain: Various joints of the body, including the jaw, can be painful if the child has joint problems, such as juvenile arthritis.

Sinusitis: Sinusitis of the upper jaw, otherwise known as maxillary sinusitis, may be the cause of upper jaw pain.

Trigeminal neuralgia: The child could experience excruciating pain in his or her face, including the jaw, as such a condition causes chronic, and chronic pain.

Malocclusion of teeth: A malocclusion is a misalignment that misaligns the upper and lower jaws causing them to be crowded or crooked. If this condition occurs in children, they may develop jaw pain, tooth decay, and teeth grinding from the dental problems they are suffering.

Treatment for jaw pain is suggested based on the severity of the symptoms, which may include other disorders.

Jaw Pain in Children: Symptoms and Signs

However, the pain may not be as noticeable to the child if it occurs in patches. In such a case, the following symptoms may indicate the child is suffering from jaw pain.

  • Problems with mouth opening and closing
  • Ear pain and headaches
  • Trouble chewing and biting
  • Jaw clicks, grinds, and pops
  • When yawning or chewing or talking, you develop pain near one’s ear and facial muscles.
  • The jaw is swollen, painful, and fatigued

What Is The Best Time To See A Doctor?

A jaw problem could manifest as symptoms of other problems. If in doubt, consult your doctor for further diagnosis.

Related: Can Teething Cause a Fever in Babies?


The doctor may use several diagnostic measures depending on the signs and symptoms.

  • Examining the jaw, mouth, and neck.
  • The doctor may want to ask about previous medical conditions and any pain in the past.
  • If none of the other options yield results, radiology procedures such as X-rays, MRIs, or CT scans may be considered.

Jaw pain is treated based on its underlying cause.

What are the treatment options for children with jaw pain?

treatment options for children with jaw pain?
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There are several treatment options available for the treatment of jaw pain in children, depending on its severity.

Pain management: Pain that is mild or caused by a temporary condition may be managed at home with heat packs and an ice pack wrapped in a towel or bag. Both heat packs and an ice pack are great ways to manage pain as well.

Medications: Some doctors may refer patients to a doctor for medications like ibuprofen or acetaminophen to treat muscles or inflammation. Severe cases may need to be administered painkillers to relieve jaw discomfort.

Physical therapy: Jaw stretching exercises, warm or cold compresses, and soothing massage may reduce jaw pain.

Splint: The occlusal splint acts as a cushion and prevents teeth grinding by placing soft acrylic between the upper and lower pairs of teeth. This splint also boosts the stability of the joint, thus lowering jaw pain.

Injections: The joints of children with arthritis may be injected with steroidal compounds to improve their comfort levels.

Surgery: Jaw dislocations and other injuries may require surgical correction. Surgical options include arthrocentesis, orthognathic surgery, open joint surgery, arthroscopy, and joint replacements.

Best ways to prevent jaw pain in children

It is not entirely possible to prevent jaw pain. However, some prevention can be applied to avoid complications and relieve the pain as it progresses.

  • Take care when chewing and eating hard foods, which could lead to jaw strain.
  • Food can be eaten softly, and smaller bites are helpful
  • As much as possible, rest the jaw.
  • If your child grinds or clenches their teeth, you may take them to the dentist.
  • Muscles in the cheeks, temples, and jaw should be massaged regularly.
  • By exercising and stretching regularly, joints may become more flexible.

Related: The order of a loss of baby teeth in children

Is there a risk of developing TMJ dysfunction if not treated?

If it is not treated, jaw pain caused by TMJ disorders may negatively affect the quality of life of a child. Untreated jaw pain may lead to the following complications.

  • Damage to the joints and inflammation
  • Dental issues and inner ear problems
  • Locked jaw
  • Headaches
  • Neck, shoulder, and back pain
  • Eating disorders

Children with jaw pain are generally not troubled by these conditions. Nevertheless, the signs and symptoms should not be ignored. It is better to diagnose the cause early and to take steps to relieve pain quickly. Additionally, teach your child about the preventive methods to prevent their child from developing jaw pain.

Are there any tips that you could give to children with jaw pain? Please add them to the comments section below.

    1 thought on “Jaw Pain In Children: Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment”

    1. Great post; I congratulate writing a complete guide on kids jaw pain. I agree with you that only a proper diagnosis will help to be prevented from TMJ. I want to add a point that kids need to visit a dentist as soon as the first tooth erupts, and regular visits after that are suggested for good and long-lasting oral health.

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