Thomas E. Bramanti, D.D.S., Ph.D.
Board-Certified Diplomate American Board of Periodontology/Implant Dentistry
Board-Certified Diplomate American Board of Oral Implantology/Implant Dentistry
Certified TMJ Expert, The Pankey Institute
Fellow American Academy of Implant Dentistry
Clinical Assistant Professor at UCSF in the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Clinical Assistant Professor UCSF-Fresno Medical Education Program, School of Medicine
Can your TMJ make your ear hurt?
There can be many causes of ear pain, but not all of them are medical. A large number of ear pain sufferers can have TMJ disorder signs and symptoms as well. Ear pain is one of the most common TMJ disorder symptoms we see.
For non-medical ear pain, the problem is usually an inflammation of the TMJ tissue causing pain that refers back to the ear. The TMJ is not just a bone, it is an entire capsule of tissue made up of ligaments, tendons, muscles, and other types of supportive tissue.
Unfortunately, that supportive tissue includes nerves that tell the brain that there is pain in the area of the ear. Those nerves let us know if there is a problem in the TMJ area.
Inflammation of this tissue causes most of the pain associated with the TMJ itself. So when the TMJ is not happy, the whole area can hurt. Inflammation often occurs with chronic strain of an area resulting from an uneven bite and uncoordinated muscle function. Chronic strain in the TMJ usually leads to further deterioration of the TMJ capsule and associated structure.
What does ear pain feel like?
Ear pain may cause sharp shooting pains, dull throbbing pains, or a general ache in the ear area. Ear pain can come when you chew or when you open wide.
Ear pain can be only in the morning or at times during the day, or all the time. It may or may not be accompanied with ringing in the ear (Tinnitus). Whatever it feels like, something is not healthy.
Will TMJ ear pain go away?
Pain from the area around the TMJ may become severe and then subside over time. That does not mean the problem has gone away, it is just not as noticeable.
The best plan is to have the area assessed by Dr. Bramanti to help determine the cause of the pain problem. Procrastination is usually not a good plan of action. Finding out the cause and effective treatment is always better.
What is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is a perceived sound or ringing that does not have a physical origin. Often the sound is annoying and distracting and may interfere with sleep or daytime function.
Tinnitus can come from a neurological problem with the inner ear or the nerve to the brain and the brain itself. Tinnitus can also come from muscle and TMJ related problems.
Tinnitus has two main types: Neurological tinnitus and Muscle tinnitus. If your tinnitus varies over time and has different levels of sound, and can be brought on by head movements or teeth clenching and grinding, or movement of your jaws, then the tinnitus may be more muscle related. This kind of tinnitus has a much better chance of being helped with dental orthopedic treatments associated with TMJ performed by Dr. Bramanti.
Are you ready for help?
Are you tired of the pain caused by an earache? Seeking professional assistance is always advisable if you are not feeling well. Do you think you have one of these symptoms? Dr. Bramanti will know which of these symptoms are more serious and how he can treat them.
If you or a friend has signs of a TMJ Disorder and ear pain, it is time to contact a Board-Certified TMJ Specialist, like Dr. Bramanti, to make sure it isn’t turning into something more critical.
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TMJ may be the cause of your ear pain. Did you know that the chronic pain of TMJ affects nearly 80 million people. Do you suffer daily from any of these TMJ symptoms such as migraines, chronic headaches, facial pain, neck pain, tinnitus, or ear pain?
Due to a misalignment of the jaw, over the course of time, if it is ignored a patient with TMJ may develop one or more of many symptoms.
You are Not Alone – Earaches are a common symptom of TMJ
TMJ is a common disorder that your dentist understands and can treat. Nearly fifty percent of patients with TMJ notice ear pain while experiencing other symptoms of TMJ. Inflammation caused by poor misalignment of your bite, or stress on your jaw joint can play a big part in the pain in your ear.
Due to the proximity of the inner ear to your TMJ, it’s no wonder the inflammation in your TMJ radiates over to the area of the ear. It is understandable that doctors assume that your earache is due to an ear infection. If the earache is not accompanied by the symptoms of a fever, drainage or hearing loss, the absence of these symptoms may support a diagnosis of a TMJ Disorder.
Are there Other Factors that Exacerbate Your TMJ?
When the complex system of muscles, ligaments and bones within the jaw no longer work together properly, a patient develops TMJ. The many painful TMJ symptoms are compounded due to the strains and stresses of your daily routines. The constant need to use your jaw is inevitable.
Swallowing, an involuntary reaction of the body, better known as a reflex action, occurs nearly 2,000 times a day. Along with eating and speaking, the muscles of your jaw get a lot of action in a day. Any misalignment in their function may cause a cycle of pain, which results in the damage of muscle, tendons, and ligaments leading to facial tenderness, and joint discomfort.
Are there any solutions that can ease my earache from TMJ?
If the pain you are experiencing worsens when you try to speak, swallow or eat there are therapies today that you can try. You have most likely tried to relieve your muscle pain with the aid of moist heat along with analgesics or anti-inflammatories. Dr. Bramanti has orthopedic methods to align your bite and relax the muscles and relieve your ear pain.
Helping correct a bite misalignment and limit the strain caused by the grinding and clenching of your teeth, a precision made orthopedic appliance can be made by Dr. Bramanti. Along with special relaxation techniques, your TMJ pain and earaches may improve.
Don’t continue to suffer from TMJ and its effects. If you have any questions about TMJ and ear aches, call Dr. Bramanti today at 559-438-7800 so you start down the path of relief to recover your health.
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We are looking forward to serving you!"
THOMAS E. BRAMANTI, DDS, PHD, INC
5660 N. Fresno Suite 110
Fresno, CA 93710
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Earaches are not only known to affect children, but adults as well. Ear pain can occur in one ear or both at the same time. The pain can be dull and constant or sharp and painful. Earaches can also be accompanied by a fever, infection and possible hearing loss.
7 conditions that could be triggering your ear pain:
1. Broken Bones Within the Ear
2. Shifting Pressure Trauma to the Ear
3. Eardrum Rupture (perforated eardrum)
4. Ear Infection
5. Foreign Objects
6. Otitis Externa (swimmer’s ear)
7. Temporomandibular joint Disorder (TMJ)
The temporomandibular joint connects your skull to the lower jaw, known as the mandible. There are 2 of these “TMJ” joints, one on each side of the skull in front of your ears. This joint allows your jaw to move enabling you to eat, drink and speak.
TMJ disorders can create severe ear aches, tinnitus, vertigo, and even hearing loss if it begins to affect the nerves in the ear.
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