Teeth grinding, pencil chewing, lip biting. Sound like your child? It also sounds like TMJ — or it may not. When it comes to TMJ syndrome, or TMD — temporomandibular joint syndrome/disease — the jury is still out. No one is really sure of its exact cause, and even diagnosis remains a gray area. But it can affect kids as well as adults — and there are certain indicators of possible TMJ.
What is TMJ? The temporomandibular joint is one of the most frequently used of all body joints and also one of the most complex. It is located in the jaw and controls chewing, swallowing, speech and communication. A small disc of cartilage separates the bones, allowing the jaw to slide smoothly up and down.