Ear pain is characterized by a sharp, dull or burning pain in one or both ears. While ear pain is typically not life-threatening, it can be quite disorienting and bothersome. A common misconception holds that most ear pain is caused by an infection. However, a more common cause of ear pain is temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder (TMD). In this blog post, Dr. Ivan Stein of the Headache & TMJ Center explains how ear pain and TMJ disorder are related, as well how to treat the pain.
Understanding TMJ Disorder
TMJ disorder can occur for several reasons. For instance, if you have ever chewed a piece of gum for a long time, you may have experienced jaw pain and subtle muscle spasms. An improper bite, teeth grinding and stress can also put pressure on your jaw muscles, resulting in pain and soreness that travels through the bones of the skull, from the jaw, face, neck and into the ears. In some cases, the pain can result in ringing in the ears, a condition known as tinnitus.
It’s very common for patients to consult an ear specialist, believing that their ear pain is a result of an infection. However, this is typically not the case. If the ear pain is not associated with loss of hearing or damage to the eardrum, TMJ disorder may be a more probable cause.
TMJ Disorder Symptoms
If you suspect your ear pain is due to TMJ disorder, schedule an evaluation with Dr. Ivan Stein. Other common symptoms of TMJ disorder to look out for include:
- Jaw pain or soreness
- Clicking or popping when opening or closing the mouth
- Stiffness of “locked” feeling in the jaw
- Swelling on the side of the face
- Difficulty chewing
- Misaligned bite
- Sinus pain
- Neck ache
Schedule an Evaluation with Dr. Stein
Because each patient experiences different symptoms, treatment for TMJ disorder varies. Dr. Stein offers several treatment options, and he will customize your treatment based on the severity of your symptoms. To discuss your treatment options with the West Orange TMJ dentist, schedule an evaluation by calling (855) TMJ-DOCS or (855) 865-3627 today.