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.