teeth grinding

Disorders of the temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, are very common. Think about it for a second - the TMJ joint is the one that essentially connects the jaw to the skull. It's put into motion every time you speak, chew, yawn, cough, etc. Being that it's used so much in daily activities, you can see why it might be prone to irritation from time to time. Throw in the fact that things like teeth grinding, stress and arthritis in the joint can also cause TMJ issues to flare up, and it shouldn't surprise you that many people often experience such issues.

In this post, however, we'll cover some of the side symptoms that TMJ disorder can also cause. You likely already know that TMJ disorders can cause severe pain and discomfort around the joint - on either just one or both sides of the face - but did you know that it can also cause neck pain, shoulder pain, toothaches, dizziness and, last but not least, a ringing in the ears?

Ear-related Symptoms of TMJ- Explained

Also known as "tinnitus," experiencing a ringing in the ears is a common side effect when it comes to TMJ disorders. Before we get into the relationship between tinnitus and the TMJ, it's first important to note that the medical community still doesn't know a lot of the specifics when it comes to TMJ disorders. Yes, TMJ disorder, and what causes it, remains a bit of a mystery. On that note, there are three main hypotheses as to the relationship between tinnitus and TMJ pain:

  • The muscles that help with chewing are located close to that of which insert into the middle ear. Therefore, the TMJ may have an effect on hearing, which could explain a ringing of the ears when TMJ pain is present.
  • There's also believed to be a connection between the ligaments that connect to the jaw and one of the hearing bones that reside in the middle ear.
  • Research has discovered that the nerve supply from the TMJ seems to have a connection with the parts of the brain that help with hearing and interpreting sound.

If the tinnitus is indeed directly related to any TMJ issues that you're experiencing, then such symptoms will subside as your TMJ issues are treated. There are many ways you can go about improving TMJ issues. For instance, a soft diet, taking over-the-counter pain relievers and reducing stress to minimize any teeth grinding are just a few things you can try to relieve TMJ pain. More advanced treatments may consist of a bite plate, orthodontic or dental work and, in dire cases, surgery.

For more information on TMJ disorders, some of the side effects that may be present because of TMJ issues and ear related symptoms of TMJ pain, contact Kanehl Dental today.