What Does Ear Pain Caused by TMJ Feel Like?
Do you have ear pain due to TMJ? Come to Koala® Centers For Sleep & TMJ Disorders for comprehensive treatment. Call or visit us online to book an appointment. We have convenient locations across the U.S. in Bloomington IL, Peoria – Dunlap IL, Mishawaka IN, Kansas City MO, El Paso TX, and Wausau WI.
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TMJ disorder is a condition characterized by dysfunction of the jaw joints, resulting in pain and other symptoms such as crepitus (clicking or popping sound). TMJ disorder is often associated with ear pain as the temporomandibular joints are connected to the masseter muscles, which run from the rear part of the cheek to the lower jaw. There are several different types of TMJ disorders, and some types tend to cause ear pain more often than others.
TMJ disorders can cause ear pain by placing extra stress on the muscles involved in jaw function, but also from inflammation and swelling spreading from another area to the ears. The muscles involved in the functions of the jaw include the masseter, the temporalis, the lateral pterygoid muscle and the medial pterygoid muscle. All of these muscles are fundamental for the jaw’s proper functioning; any stress placed on any one of these muscles can cause facial pain or ear pain. The muscles most associated with ear pain include the masseter and the temporalis muscles, which are located above (temporalis) and below (masseter) of the ear.
Ear pain is a common symptom and can have a number of different causes, including TMJ disorder. One of the most common symptoms of TMJ disorder is ear pain as the jaw joints can become dislocated or the muscles in the ear can spasm due to dysfunction of this joint. Some people experience ear pain that is not related to a TMJ disorder but is caused by another condition, such as a middle ear infection or sinus pain. It is important to see a dentist when experiencing ear pain to determine its cause and the best course of treatment.
Ear pain caused by a TMJ disorder might be a dull, ongoing irritation or it could be a sharp, searing pain, depending on its cause and the affected tissues. The pain may worsen with jaw movement, although this is not always the case. Inflammation and swelling due to TMJ disorder can spread to the ear, causing ear pain and discomfort. Additionally, straining the muscles connected to the TMJ, such as the masseter and temporalis, can result in ear pain as well as tension headaches and pain behind the eyes.
Each individual will have their own causes and symptoms of TMJ disorder, so it is impossible to predict how long the pain will last as well as how severe the pain will be. There are several factors that play a role in the duration of ear pain, including how long the pain has already been present. Other factors include individual physiology, overall health, the treatments received, and the pain tolerance of the individual. It is also important to note that in times of stress or illness, or even during weather changes, TMJ disorder symptoms can flare up, prolonging their total duration. If ear pain from TMJ disorder lasts longer than a week or interferes with the ability to perform everyday activities, it should be addressed by a qualified dentist as soon as possible in order to restore health and live a good quality of life.
If you are experiencing ear pain from TMJ disorder, come to Koala® Centers For Sleep & TMJ Disorders for knowledgeable and personalized care.