Ear pain can result from a number of conditions, but it’s commonly misattributed to an infection. On the contrary, ear pain can also occur due to a problem with your temporomandibular joint (TMJ.) The TMJ is responsible for the connection between your mandible, or jawbone, and your skull. So if you’re facing TMJ ear pain, an issue with the joint could be the reason.
This post will talk about some of the types of TMJ pain you can experience, and how the pain can affect your ear as well. We’ll then briefly discuss some of the treatment options available for TMJ issues.
TMJ and Ear Pain – How Are They Related?
The TMJ exists in close proximity to your ear and allows your jaw to move from side to side, as well as forwards or backward. Normally, these movements occur smoothly, but TMJ disorders can make the movement of the jaw very difficult and even deeply painful.
TMJ disorders most commonly present with myofascial pain, which concerns the muscles of the joint. These muscles can get sore or inflamed just like any other muscle, and this results in a severe ache. Naturally, pain in a dislocated temporomandibular joint is also a common result of injury. However, the joint can also face the degenerative effects of a disease like arthritis, where joints become painful, difficult to move, and inflamed.
Because the TMJ is so close to the ear canal, inflammation in the joint can extend to the ear. You might feel an earache while yawning, chewing, or talking – all actions that require movements of the jaw.
Some patients experience a ringing in their ears along with the pain. Called tinnitus, this is also a common symptom.
Treatment Options Depend On Your Condition
TMJ pain can vary from a dull, throbbing ache to sharp, intense pain on the slightest movement. You might also notice that it’s more difficult to move your jaw because it feels stiff or locked in place. A popping or clicking sound accompanying jaw movement is a likely sign that you have a TMJ disorder.
However, earache can also result due to other conditions not directly related to the ear canal, such as sinusitis, which is an inflammation of the sinuses. Nighttime teeth grinding, or bruxism can also contribute to this.
A doctor’s diagnosis is essential, but in the meantime, you can soothe the pain by taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and resting your jaw to avoid any excess movement that can irritate the joint.
It is important to visit a qualified specialist who can diagnose whether or not your earache is related to a TMJ disorder. A proper diagnosis allows you to follow an appropriate course of treatment that will allow optimum recovery.
At Nimmi Shine Dental, we pride ourselves on being the epitome of excellence for dentistry in California. Our experienced team provides honest, gentle, and affordable care to all patients and takes special care to ensure their trust.
We’ll be happy to answer any questions about getting your braces and make the best recommendations for your individual needs. Feel free to call our dental office in San Diego at 858-999-8550 or our Temecula, CA dentist at 951-695-1027.