If you have unexplained ringing in your ears, you could have TMJ, or temporomandibular joint disorder. TMJ is a condition involving the joints of the upper or lower jaw.
The system of ligaments, muscles and bones that controls your jaw must function properly for you to talk, eat and swallow. When it’s out of alignment, you can end up with a wide range of unpleasant side effects. TMJ can start to affect you after an injury, if you grind your teeth excessively and even if you’re just stressed out.
Signs and Symptoms
That frustrating ringing in your ears, also known as tinnitus, could definitely be related to TMJ, but it probably won’t be the first sign of a problem with your jaw joint.
At first, you’ll probably feel a mild discomfort that might gradually progress to a more intense pain. If TMJ is a result of an injury, severe pain could strike suddenly. The pain may be constant, or only appear when you open and close your jaw. It can cause headaches and migraines.
You also might hear a popping sound when you open and close your jaw. The area around the jaw joint may begin to swell. You could have muscle spasms or the jaw could lock in place.
Tinnitus and TMJ
The primary reason you might hear ringing in your ears if TMJ is a serious problem for you is that the jaw joint is located near the eardrum. As swelling grows, the movement can destabilize the eardrum.
You might have ear pain, and that, combined with the ringing, might make you think you have an ear infection. However, no antibiotics will make tinnitus go away if it’s caused by TMJ. You must address the root problem to get relief from the ringing in your ears.
What Are the Available Treatment Options?
A wide range of treatments is available for TMJ, and your dental professional will start by prescribing muscle relaxers or physical therapy for the joint. It may help to stick to a soft-foods diet while the joint heals from an injury, if applicable. The nonsurgical treatments that may help include mouthguards to prevent tooth grinding, if that’s the cause of your TMJ.
After you have tried all non-invasive treatment options and none has cured your TMJ, it’s time to consider oral surgery.
Make an appointment with Northeast Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery today for an assessment. You will get professional advice and compassionate care with personalized recommendations on the proper treatment method for TMJ.