How does the TMJ affect tinnitus?


earache-wisdom-teeth-199x300Tinnitus is a symptom where a person experiences ringing sensations in one or both ears. This sensation can be accompanied by pain and discomfort. There are many underlying causes of this condition, most of which are related to the health of the ear. However, tinnitus can also be a symptom of TMJ disorder. TMJ disorder involves the dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). The TMJ can become inflamed, and since it is located in front of the ears just above the jaw line, this inflammation can produce symptoms of tinnitus.

If your doctor has ruled out structural issues or conditions in the ear as a cause of tinnitus, we recommend scheduling a consultation with our oral surgeons to determine if the ringing in your ears is a side effect of TMJ disorder.

What is TMJ disorder?

TMJ disorder is a condition where the temporomandibular joint malfunctions due to deformities or dental issues such as tooth wear. The TMJ is connected to the lower mandible and is surrounded by ligaments and muscles. This joint and surrounding soft tissue are responsible for all mouth movement. Every time you speak or eat, the TMJ is engaged.

If the TMJ is damaged or unable to function properly, patients typically experience discomfort such as headaches and lower facial pain. In severe cases, TMJ disorder causes the joint to “lock up”, which disables mouth movement for a period of time.

What causes TMJ dysfunction?

A number of things can influence TMJ disorder. Tooth wear, malocclusions, and orthodontic issues contribute to the dysfunction of the TMJ. Congenital abnormalities in the joint itself and the jawbone also relate to this condition.

How is TMJ disorder treated?

If the underlying cause of TMJ disorder is related to the teeth or their alignment, restorative dentistry and orthodontic treatment may be used to improve one’s occlusion so that stress and strain on the TMJ can be relieved.

If jaw and joint abnormalities are the reason for TMJ dysfunction, oral surgery may be necessary to repair defects and abnormalities.

To learn more about your treatment options, call our office to reserve a consultation with our team.