TMJ-related ear symptoms are painful and often disrupt daily life for people suffering from Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, commonly referred to as TMJ or TMD. The temporomandibular joint is located on either side of the face close to the ear and acts as a hinge to open and close your jaw. This joint is attached to your skull on both sides, and it plays a part in many actions of your upper body. Because the TMJ has a hand in so many movements, a large number of parts of the body may be affected when something is amiss with the temporomandibular joint.

If your jaw clicks and pops when you chew and if you have pain in the ear, fullness in the ear, and/or ringing in the ear (tinnitus), you may have TMD. Neuromuscular dentistry can diagnose and treat your TMJ ear symptoms and other painful problems related to the dysfunction of your temporomandibular joint.

TMJ Symptoms

One of the most challenging aspects of TMJ is that this complex disorder presents a myriad of sometimes seemingly unrelated symptoms. Patients who seek help from a Wilmington, Delaware neuromuscular dentist may experience any or all of the following symptoms:

  • Jaw pain
  • Neck pain
  • Back pain
  • Face pain
  • Sharp, stabbing ear pain
  • Dull, aching ear pain
  • Fullness in the ear
  • Ringing in the ear
  • Popping, clicking noises in the jaw joint
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Pain when chewing or talking

How TMD Involves the Ear

Ears are very complex organs that are controlled by muscles, just like the rest of the face. If you place your finger firmly inside your ear and then open and close your jaw, you should be able to feel the movement. The temporomandibular joints are extremely close to the ear canals; that’s why there are a number of TMJ ear symptoms.

You may remember a time when you were on an airplane or driving through a mountainous area of the United States and could feel an uncomfortable level of pressure build up inside your ears. That feeling, which can often be painful, occurs in the Eustachian Tubes. Many people will chew gum or open and close their mouths widely a few times to relieve this buildup of pressure in their ears.

Since the temporomandibular joint is so closely connected to the muscles that control the ears, a misaligned jaw puts pressure on the muscles that surround and control the ears. Also, pain is sometimes transferred directly to the ears as opposed to its origin point in the jaw. The phenomenon of pain going somewhere other than the point of origin is known as “referred pain.” TMJ dentists find the phenomenon of referred pain very common with TMJ.

With TMJ/TMD, you may have pain in only one ear, or you may have pain in both ears. Regardless of where your pain is, you know that TMJ symptoms can negatively impact your quality of life. Due to the complexity of TMJ disorder, the condition is often misdiagnosed. A highly trained neuromuscular dentist will have treated many patients with the painful ear symptoms of TMJ and can help you, too.

TMJ Diagnosis and Treatment

If you’re tired of dealing with painful ear symptoms and are looking for relief, please know that neuromuscular dentists know to look to the jaw joint when patients present symptoms like headache, jaw pain, and ear pain. Diagnosing and treating TMJ in its early stages will help prevent the condition from worsening and will improve your quality of life and sleep.

Our TMJ dentist will use advanced dental technology to map the movements of your jaw and determine the jaw’s optimal position. Once that has been done, a treatment plan can be created. You may make some lifestyle and diet changes, and you may have treatment in the office on a regular basis.

You may be fitted with an oral appliance to be used while you sleep, and you may benefit from TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation). Surgery is always a last resort, and oftentimes, patients get relief without any medication. The good news is that there are a number of treatment options for the painful ear symptoms that often come with TMJ.

Get Treated for TMJ Ear Symptoms

Please contact the office of Dr. Goodling by calling (302) 994-0979 or fill out our online contact form to get help with TMJ ear symptoms today.