Why Does TMJ Cause Ear Pain?

adult woman holding her ear in painThe Temporomandibular Joints are the joints that connect your jaw to your skull on each side of your head just below your ears. Acting as a sliding hinge, moving side to side, up and down, and back and forth, they enable you to chew, speak, and yawn. The TMJs are the only joints in the human body that move in three directions. 

When overused or injured, these joints may not function properly, and that dysfunction may result in TMJ-related inflammation, pain, and tightness, all of which can wreak havoc on your quality of life. Millions of Americans suffer the painful symptoms of TMJ from overworking these multi-functional joints.

The maxillofacial region, which includes the TMJs, is highly complex and closely interconnected. Just think about the numerous ways your maxillofacial region works during 24 hours. The intricate maxillofacial region allows you to easily make facial expressions, talk, eat, yawn, and laugh. However, when joint dysfunction exists, these movements may cause pain.

This intricacy of the maxillofacial region also means TMJ disorders may cause pain and other symptoms in the head, face, and neck. Your ears are located less than half an inch from your TMJs, so ear pain is one of the most common symptoms of TMJ.

Symptoms of ear pain from TMJ may include:

Inflammation and swelling from TMJ often spread, resulting in tension headaches and pain behind the eyes. You may also experience symptoms in the face, neck, back, and upper extremities.

TMJ Treatment and Neuromuscular Dentistry

As stated above, Dr. Haddad is a leader in the area of dentistry that focuses on TMJ diagnosis and treatment. Neuromuscular dentistry focuses on the relationship between the maxillofacial region’s muscles, bones, cartilage, and nerves. Neuromuscular dentistry emphasizes that when the jaw is in its most relaxed, optimal position, it won’t malfunction and cause trauma to surrounding areas.

TMJ treatment focuses on moving the jaw into its best position using a variety of techniques, including

  • TENS
  • Lifestyle changes, including changes in diet, sleep position, and evening habits
  • Oral Appliance
  • Laser therapy
  • Physical therapy

Learn More About Ear Pain and TMJ

If you’re looking for a Detroit, MI, TMJ dentist, look no further than Dr. Jeffrey Haddad at the Michigan Center for TMJ & Sleep Wellness. Please call us at (248) 480-0085 to schedule your initial evaluation, or you may fill out our online contact form. One of our team members will reach out shortly to answer any questions you may have or assist with scheduling.