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How Skull Shape and Birth Injuries Affect Your Child’s Dental Health

Smiling Baby

There are times when difficult deliveries can have an impact on your child’s overall health. As an example, head-first deliveries can compress the child’s skull resulting in long term effects. In many cases these effects must be addressed to avoid problems later in life. For example, a child may be born with a cranial or facial deformity that harms the development of their teeth and jaw. This can result in problems with how the teeth come in or even conditions like TMJ which involve issues related to your jaw. These conditions are very treatable.

Can skull shape affect dental health?

There are a number of conditions that impact the development of a child’s skull and face. These conditions tend to cause (among other problems) a misalignment of your bite. In other words, the top part of your jaw does not align exactly like the bottom part of your jaw. This results in a condition known as TMJ which can cause a host of issues like recurring headaches which often diminish the quality of life of the person.

How is TMJ treated?

There is a multi-discipline approach to treating TMJ. The pain can be managed using over-the-counter anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen or naproxen sodium. Your doctor may also prescribe muscle relaxers to help the jaw muscles unclench. Further, treatment with a specific class of antidepressants known as either tricyclic or tetracyclic antidepressants can, in small doses, relieve pain and help you sleep. In addition to pain management, physical therapy can be employed to strengthen the jaw muscles and mouth guards can be used at night so that your teeth rest in a comfortable position. Corticosteroids can also be used for pain management.

Of course, that is only symptom management. How do you get rid of TMJ for good? Unfortunately, most of your options will involve surgery on the jawbone itself. TMJ arthroscopy has the fewest risks, is the least invasive, and hence, it is usually preferred by patients. It directly addresses the joint causing the pain. Other options include indirectly addressing the joint pain by performing a procedure on the mandible, which can help those who experience lockjaw.

Joint replacement

Today, just about any joint in your body can be repaired or replaced with a medical device. Your jaw joint is no different. However, this is considered the most aggressive and costly surgical option available to the patient. It is usually employed in cases where other remedies have failed. With a more complex surgery, comes greater risks. So joint replacement would only be considered after careful discussion with your doctor.

Talk to a Flagstaff, AZ Family Dentist Today

Those headaches and sleepless nights could be the result of an unmanaged TMJ disorder. If so, call the family dentists at Peak Family Dental Care in Cottonwood today and we can begin weighing your treatment options.

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