Checking the health of the jaw joint is not only important for adults, but also for youths between the ages of 12 and 18. If your child is experiencing jaw pain or difficulty opening and closing their mouth, they could benefit from TMJ treatments. The health of the jaw joint should especially be checked frequently in youths who participate in sports. Athletic injuries could cause a condition called condylar resorption, which frequently affects people younger than 20.
Causes of Condylar Resorption
Condylar resorption is a form of TMJ that occurs when the knobs of bone that make up the lower portion of the jaw-skull joint begin to break down. The breakdown process is called resorption, which your body uses to break down damaged or unneeded hard tissue. Advanced resorption can cause dental problems, facial deformation, and intense jaw pain. Arthritis, infections, and accidental injuries are known causes of this condition.
The cause of one form of this condition, known as idiopathic condylar resorption (ICR), is not well understood. ICR affects more females than males, and largely affects teenage girls. Another common name for this condition is cheerleader syndrome because it frequently affects female athletes and cheerleaders who receive jaw injuries.
Recognize the Signs
People suffering from condylar resorption will experience radiating jaw pain similar to other forms of TMJ. This condition commonly causes a bad bite to form which results in popping and clicking of the jaw. Mobility of the jaw may be limited in some patients. Visual signs to look for are a sunken-in appearance of the jaw, or a gap forming between the upper and lower front teeth when the mouth is closed. Pain symptoms will worsen if the resorption of the jawbone goes untreated. Left alone, resorption could badly damage the bone and surgery may be needed.
Catching condylar resorption in the early stages is important for non-surgical treatment. Early intervention by TMJ treatments like a bite-splint can be used to slow the resorption and relieve pain. An experienced professional should evaluate jaw pain that persists for more than a few weeks to eliminate condylar resorption as a possible cause.
If you or your child experience on-going jaw pain, TMJ treatment may offer relief. For more information about TMJ treatment, please call 918-528-3330 to make an appointment today.