Jaw pain is a common problem in young adults, and it is something that requires prompt action. This is because jaw pain can lead to discomfort to your teen, and he/she may even find it difficult to eat and speak.
While occasional pain or discomfort is normal, if the pain persists or becomes severe, then it is crucial to identify and address the underlying issues. In this article, we’ll discuss some common causes and symptoms of Jaw pain in teenagers and how to prevent it. So, let’s get into it:
Symptoms of Jaw Pain in Teenagers
When your teenager complains about jaw pain, they may also experience some other complications like:
- Headaches or Ear Pain
Jaw pain is often associated with secondary symptoms such as headaches and ear pain. This interconnected network of discomfort is a common manifestation of various jaw-related issues.
- Changes in Bite or Teeth Alignment
Dental issues, such as misalignment or bruxism, can cause changes in the bite or teeth alignment. This can lead to discomfort and further increase the jaw pain.
- Clicking or Popping Sounds
If your teenager’s jaw makes clicking or popping sounds when they open or close their mouth, it might be a sign of a TMJ disorder. This could mean there’s an issue with the jaw joint, and it’s a good idea to talk to a doctor about it.
- Facial Pain
Young adults with jaw pain often complain of tenderness or pain around the jaw area. They will experience this discomfort while chewing or speaking.
- Difficulty Opening or Closing the Mouth
TMJ disorders or other jaw issues can lead to difficulty in fully opening or closing the mouth. Your teenager may express this as discomfort or a sensation of the jaw getting stuck.
Common Causes of Jaw Pain in Teenagers
Here are some common causes that lead to jaw pain in young adults:
- Dental Issues
Dental problems are a leading cause of jaw pain in young adults. Tooth decay, misalignment, or issues with the jaw structure can contribute to discomfort. Also, wisdom teeth often cause pain and may require extraction if they impact surrounding teeth.
- Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorders
Another cause of jaw pain in teens can be Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorders. They connect the jawbone to the skull and cause pain. It occurs due to some injuries, arthritis, or excess teeth grinding. If your teen has TMJ disorders, then they may experience pain, clicking sounds, and difficulty opening the mouth.
Some infections can also lead to jaw pain in teenagers, especially those affecting the gums or salivary glands.
- Sinus Issues
Sinus infections or congestion can indirectly cause jaw pain. The proximity of the sinuses to the jaw may result in referred pain, where discomfort from the sinuses is felt in the jaw area.
- Trauma or Injury
Accidents or injuries to the face or jaw can cause immediate pain. Fractures, dislocations, or soft tissue injuries may result in ongoing discomfort that requires prompt medical attention.
Treatment Options for Jaw Pain in Teenagers
So, now you have got a glimpse into the symptoms and causes of jaw pain in teenagers, let’s discuss some of the best ways to prevent the pain:
- Wisdom Teeth Removal
If you notice that the jaw pain in your teen is getting worse, then opting for wisdom teeth removal can be the most suitable option.
A wisdom teeth removal by Dr. Fakhimi is a common and effective procedure, preventing potential issues and ensuring your teen’s overall oral health.
A dental professional like Dr. Fakhimi will guide you through the process, ensuring a smooth experience alleviating jaw pain caused by these late-blooming molars.
- TMJ Exercises
For TMJ disorders, healthcare professionals may recommend specific exercises to improve jaw muscle strength and flexibility. These exercises can help alleviate pain and improve jaw function over time.
- Over-the-counter Medications
Over-the-counter pain medications, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, may be recommended by the healthcare professional to manage pain and inflammation. However, it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional before giving any medication to your teen.
- Warm Compresses
Applying warm compresses to the affected jaw area can help relax muscles and reduce pain. This can be particularly beneficial for teens experiencing tension-related jaw pain.
- Behavioral Interventions
If teeth grinding is identified as a cause, behavioral interventions may be suggested. These can include stress-reducing techniques, relaxation exercises, or the use of customized nightguards.
Jaw pain in teens can stem from various causes, ranging from dental issues to TMJ disorders and infections. Recognizing the symptoms and seeking prompt medical attention is crucial for accurate diagnosis and effective treatment.
As a parent, you should encourage open communication with your teenager regarding any discomfort in the jaw area and consult healthcare professionals for appropriate intervention.