Can a malfunctioning jaw cause TMJ ear pain?

jaw-painDo you often get pain in your ears that isn’t due to an infection? Is the pain more noticeable when you swallow, or in the morning when you first wake up? Does your jaw make a popping noise or get stuck when you talk, chew, laugh or yawn? Is there also pain or aching in your jaw right around the ¬†joint? Do you feel like you are the oddball suffering from this type of pain? You are not alone because a malfunctioning jaw is actually more common than you think, and it is frequently the reason behind TMJ ear pain.

What does your jaw have to do with your ears?

To understand how a malfunctioning jaw causes TMJ ear pain it is first necessary to look at what causes problems in the jaw. Stress is the primary reason that people clench their teeth tightly together, and it is often done subconsciously. A bite that has changed over time due to injury or missing teeth can lead to teeth grinding, and this bruxism is the body’s way of trying to “fix the bite.” Trauma, injury and arthritis are other reasons a jaw can become painful or misaligned. Any one of these problems with the temporomandibular joint can lead to a malfunctioning jaw. When the joint is aching and sore, and the soft tissue is tender, it affects other closely connected parts of your body as well. This includes not only the muscles, but also the nerves and soft tissue surrounding the joint, the ears, neck and head. The pain in the ears is especially painful, and it is very distracting having a constant feeling of pressure, pain and ringing in the ears.

Here’s how to treat it

If your Westminster dentist examines you and determines that you have TMJ ear pain due to a misaligned jaw, then there are several options for therapy that can help alleviate the symptoms that are causing your pain. TMJ treatment includes:

  • Changing your diet temporarily so you don’t have to chew as hard or as long.
  • Relaxation exercises are used to help you de-stress.
  • Prescribing custom mouth guards to wear at night helps resolve nightly teeth grinding.
  • Another option is tooth replacement or other orthodontia to help correct a misaligned bite.
  • In rare occasions, surgery is necessary to correct jaw malfunction that is the result of an injury.

Your Westminster dentist will discuss the specific issues causing your ear pain, so they can discuss the best treatment options for you.

Would you like to learn more?

Learn more in just a few minutes by taking our online TMJ questionnaire. This easy survey will help you understand the symptoms of TMJ disorder and the resulting pain. Once submitted, I’ll review your answers and reply with a free, no obligations diagnostic recommendation. If a malfunctioning jaw and resulting TMJ seems the likely cause of your ear pain, then it is time to call your dentist and get a thorough examination. Don’t suffer any longer. Once you get the treatment you need, your TMJ pain will disappar.