Are you experiencing pain, ringing, or difficulty hearing in one or both of your ears? While the obvious cause may seem to be an ear infection, the underlying problem may actually have very little to do with your ears at all. For many, the pain or discomfort they are experiencing in their ears is the result of a misalignment with their jaw, known as temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). But how can you determine what’s causing your ear pain?
If you think TMD might be the cause of your ear pain, call Dr. Kendra Schick at 403-768-2443 for a professional consultation. She can examine the condition of your jaw and check for any misalignment to determine whether TMD may be causing your ear pain. We proudly serve men, women, and teens in the Northwest, Downtown, and other nearby Calgary areas.
What is TMJ Disorder?
The temporomandibular joint is the point at which your lower jaw connects to your skull. Misalignment of this joint is known as a TMJ disorder (TMD), which can cause chronic pain or discomfort in other areas of the head and body. Because the TMJ and the ear canal share the same bony structure of the skull, a TMJ disorder can cause significant pain or discomfort of the ears.
How does TMD affect the ears?
A TMD can cause chronic pain and discomfort in various areas throughout the body, making it difficult to diagnose. This is especially true when it comes to the ear, which is so closely located to the temporomandibular joint. Oftentimes, pain in the ear from TMD is confused for an ear infection, which leads to men and women seeking out the wrong form of treatment.
A TMJ disorder causes the jaw to move irregularly, which can lead to ear pain due to an overstretching or pinching of the underlying connective disk tissue. With TMDs, there is also more bone-on-bone movement at the joint, which can cause more ear pain, along with clicking or popping of the jaw.
How to tell if your ear pain is caused by a TMD
Ear pain, ringing (tinnitus), and difficulty hearing are common symptoms of a TMJ disorder. However, these can also be the result of ear-related problems, such as an infection, impacted ear wax, and more.
There are a couple things you can try at home to help figure out if a TMJ disorder is causing your ear pain. First, place both hands at either side of your face where the jaw meets your skull. Slowly open and close your mouth and pay careful attention to the movement of the jaw. You should feel a smooth and fluid motion when both opening and closing – any clicking, popping, or irregular movement of the jaw may be a sign of a TMJ disorder.
Second, check for other signs of a TMD. Headaches are another common symptom of a TMD, as well as general facial pain. If you’ve noticed your ear pain after recent dental work, it is possible that your procedure had caused some misalignment of the TMJ as we had discussed in our previous blog.
If you are still unsure, the best option is to seek professional care. Experienced dentists like Dr. Schick can help to determine whether or not your ear pain is being caused by a TMJ disorder. If so, they can recommend personalized treatment to help correct TMJ alignment and alleviate any pain or discomfort.
Schedule Your TMJ Consultation
It can be extremely difficult to correctly diagnose the cause of your ear pain. If you think a TMD might be causing pain, ringing, or difficulty hearing in one or both of your ears, please contact our practice at 403-768-2443 to schedule your appointment with Dr. Kendra Schick. We are located in Calgary and proudly serve the Northwest, Downtown, and surrounding areas.