If you are having problems with your ears like pain, congestion or ear ringing, you might not have considered that they could be caused by your jaws. Your ears are connected to a complex nerve system that supplies sensation to your entire head and face, so problems in one area can sometimes be felt somewhere else. TMJ disorder, a common problem involving the jaws, can cause pain, ringing in the ears and many more symptoms.
The source of TMJ disorder
Your temporomandibular joints are the joints that allow your jaws to move and your mouth to open and close. These joints can develop problems when they are overworked or there is wearing down of the soft discs of tissue that help them to move smoothly. Temporomandibular joint disorder or TMJ can cause headaches, neck pain, shoulder pain and a variety of symptoms throughout the head and face.
TMJ and your ears
Ear pain can be a TMJ symptom because of the cluster of nerves that supplies sensation to your head and the way that your eyes, ears and throat all connect. The TM joints are located close to your ears and can send pain into your ears when something goes wrong. Ear congestion and ear ringing can also be symptoms of TMJ disorder, with ear ringing or a whistling sound being a common ear-related TMJ symptom.
Treatment for TMJ
TMJ disorder can be treated with pain medications for short-term relief, but finding the cause of TMJ and treating the source can provide better and sometimes permanent relief. TMJ is often caused or made worse by a misalignment of your teeth or a bad bite. TMJ treatment that corrects your bite can relieve stress on your jaws and ease pain and other symptoms. Bite correction can be permanent with orthodontic treatment, but if your teeth and bite do not need permanent change, a removable dental appliance can be used to ease jaw pain.
Find out more about TMJ and your ears
If you have ear pain, ringing or congestion and have not been able to find a solution from a doctor, it is possible that your jaw has been overlooked as a possible source of the problem. Contact Milwaukee dentist Dr Westman to schedule a consultation appointment to learn more about how problems with ears can be caused by your jaws.