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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 155-157  

Temporomandibular joint dislocation in an 18-month-old child

Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Amrita School of Dentistry, Amrita University, Kochi, Kerala, India

Date of Web Publication24-Apr-2017

Correspondence Address:
Jaeson Mohanan Painatt
Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Amrita School of Dentistry, Kochi - 682 024, Kerala
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ccd.ccd_1041_16

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Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dislocation in children is extremely rare. In our case, an 18-month-old child presented with a history of inability to close her mouth. To confirm the clinical diagnosis, a computed tomogram was taken. Clinical examination and X-ray of the TMJ revealed bilateral TMJ dislocation. Bilateral TMJ reduction was achieved manually after giving analgesia and procedural sedation. This is one of the few case reports of an acute dislocation in a toddler.

Keywords: Child, dislocation, temporomandibular joint

How to cite this article:
Painatt JM, Veeraraghavan R, Puthalath U. Temporomandibular joint dislocation in an 18-month-old child. Contemp Clin Dent 2017;8:155-7

How to cite this URL:
Painatt JM, Veeraraghavan R, Puthalath U. Temporomandibular joint dislocation in an 18-month-old child. Contemp Clin Dent [serial online] 2017 [cited 2021 Jul 30];8:155-7. Available from:

   Introduction Top

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dislocation implicates a nonself-limiting displacement of the condyle, outside of its functional positions within the glenoid fossa and posterior slope of the articular eminence.[1] An oral and maxillofacial surgeon is usually challenged in managing TMJ dislocation in children. This article is on the diagnosis and management of an 18-month-child who presented with acute TMJ dislocation.

   Case Report Top

An 18-month-old female child was referred to our department from a local hospital, with a 48 h history of inability to close her mouth [Figure 1]. Detailed history revealed that the child's mother forcefully fed the child which led to the same. From the local hospital, chairside manual reduction was unsuccessful as the jaw would dislocate after the child cries. On examination, the child was tired and distressed. She was unable to occlude her teeth. She also revealed an anterior open bite and drooling saliva. The child was unable to drink or eat properly. Both condyles could be palpated outside the fossa. A computed tomogram (CT) revealed bilaterally displaced condyles anterior to the articular eminence [Figure 2]. The child was taken up for reduction under sedation. The TMJ was manually reduced. Satisfactory reduction was confirmed clinically by a return of the child's normal dental occlusion and lower jaw mobility [Figure 3]a. Barton's bandage was placed to prevent the recurrence of dislocation [Figure 3]b. The patient is being kept under regular follow-up, [Figure 4] and if the problem persists at a later stage, surgical correction may be required [Figure 3]c.
Figure 1: Inability to close her mouth

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Figure 2: Computed tomogram revealing a prominent articular eminence

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Figure 3: (a) Manual reduction of dislocated temporomandibular joint. (b) Occlusion achieved. (c) Postoperative

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Figure 4: Follow-up

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   Discussion Top

This is one of the few case reports of an acute dislocation in a toddler. The incidence of TMJ dislocation is highest in young women in the age group of 21–30 years, but it is extremely rare in infants.[2] TMJ dislocation has been mainly classified into three categories: acute, chronic, and chronic recurrent.[3] Acute dislocations may be associated with any number of etiologies, including prolonged mouth opening during a lengthy dental procedure, vomiting, yawning, and singing. There have also been reports of acute dislocation secondary to epileptic seizures, acute facial trauma, and direct laryngoscopy.[4]

The pathogenesis of TMJ dislocation is multifactorial, attributed to capsular weakness, ligamentous laxity, atypical eminence size (morphology or projection), myospasm, trauma, or aberrancy in masticatory movement. In children, the articular eminences are underdeveloped and the glenoid fossa is almost flat, hence diminishing the chances of dislocation.[5] In our case, the articular eminences are well formed, thus leading to a dislocation caused due to forced feeding.

Some authors feel that the clinical diagnosis can be achieved by careful examination alone. Some signs should be sought such as the inability to occlude teeth, pursed lip, drooling, protruding lower jaw, and preauricular bony hard swelling.[6] Our patient was uncooperative, and we were unable to do a comprehensive clinical examination. Due to the unavailability of a cone beam CT (CBCT), a CT was taken to have a three-dimensional representation of the dislocated TMJ and to rule out any structural abnormality.

Acute dislocations are typically addressed in a nonsurgical fashion. Conventional nonoperative methods have been described by multiple authors.[7],[8],[9] The typical maneuver is described as bimanual intraoral traction, placing the thumbs at the retromolar pad/external oblique ridge and pressing inferiorly and then posteriorly, manipulating the condylar head over the preglenoid plane, seating it back in the articular fossa. This maneuver is typically done asking the patient to open the mouth so that the elevators of the mandible are relaxed. In our case, manual reduction was done following sedation. Regardless of the employed technique, once the condylar head has been reduced, a period of functional restriction is advocated. Muscle relaxants may also be prescribed. In many instances, however, a tendency toward redislocation requires the use of a chin strap/face-lift bandage for vertical traction.

The patient is being kept under regular follow-up, and if the problem persists, surgical correction may be required at a later stage.

   Conclusion Top

There is a possibility that infants can present with TMJ dislocation. A surgeon may have to take a CBCT/CT to rule out any structural abnormality or any concomitant fracture if a comprehensive clinical examination is not possible. The nonsurgical management is mostly carried out under sedation.

Declaration of patient consent

The authors certify that they have obtained all appropriate patient consent forms. In the form the patient(s) has/have given his/her/their consent for his/her/their images and other clinical information to be reported in the journal. The patients understand that their names and initials will not be published and due efforts will be made to conceal their identity, but anonymity cannot be guaranteed.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

   References Top

Nitzan DW. Temporomandibular joint “open lock” versus condylar dislocation: Signs and symptoms, imaging, treatment, and pathogenesis. J Oral Maxillofac Surg 2002;60:506-11.  Back to cited text no. 1
Chhabra S, Chhabra N. Recurrent bilateral TMJ dislocation in a 20-month-old child: A rare case presentation. J Indian Soc Pedod Prev Dent 2011;29 6 Suppl 2:S104-6.  Back to cited text no. 2
Adekeye EO, Shamia RI, Cove P. Inverted L-shaped ramus osteotomy for prolonged bilateral dislocation of the temporomandibular joint. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol 1976;41:568-77.  Back to cited text no. 3
Liddell A, Perez DE. Temporomandibular joint dislocation. Oral Maxillofac Surg Clin North Am 2015;27:125-36.  Back to cited text no. 4
Atherton GJ, Peckitt NS. Bilateral dislocation of the temporomandibular joints in a 2-year-old child: Report of a case. J Oral Maxillofac Surg 1997;55:646-7.  Back to cited text no. 5
Cascarini L, Cameron MG. Bilateral TMJ dislocation in a 23-month-old infant: A case report. Dent Update 2009;36:312-3.  Back to cited text no. 6
Fordyce GL. Long-standing bilateral dislocation of the jaw. Br J Oral Surg 1965;3:222-5.  Back to cited text no. 7
Howe AG, Kent JN, Farrell CD, Poidmore SJ. Implant of articular eminence for recurrent dislocation of the temporomandibular joint. J Oral Surg 1978;36:523-6.  Back to cited text no. 8
Rowe NL, Killey HC. Fractures of the Facial Skeleton. 2nd ed. Edinburgh: E and S Livingstone; 1970. p. 23-34.  Back to cited text no. 9


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3], [Figure 4]

This article has been cited by
1 Bilateral dislocation of the Temporo-Mandibular Joint in children
Sicard Ludovic,Diane O’hana,Roman Hossein Khonsari,Abdelkhaled Kaddour Brahim
Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. 2018;
[Pubmed] | [DOI]


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