About all

Help for tmj ear pain: How TMJ And Ear Pain Are Related And Treated

How TMJ And Ear Pain Are Related And Treated

Top Articles

More Articles

Published date field
Last Updated:

Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications

Did you know that not all ear pain results from an infection? Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders can result in discomfort in the area. The TMJ connects your jawbone to your skull; it acts as a sliding hinge that assists whenever you speak, chew, and swallow. Learn more about TMJ and ear pain disorders, how to differentiate this sensation from other types, why it occurs, and how to find relief.

What is The TMJ?

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects the bone that forms the side of the skull (temporal bone) and the lower jawbone (mandible), which is near your ear. This joint enables you to move your jaw forward, backward, and side-to-side. The main signs of TMJ disorder are a painful jaw and limited movement in the area.

TMJ Disorders

Although the causes of TMJ disorders are often unclear, discomfort in this joint can be caused by an injury to the jaw, arthritis, teeth grinding, excessive gum chewing, or a misaligned bite. There are three main types of TMJ disorders:

  • Myofascial pain: This is the most common type of TMJ disorder. It is marked by deep, aching pain in the muscles of the joint.
  • Internal derangement of the joint: This is associated with a dislocated joint or trauma to the jaw.
  • Degenerative disease: Arthritis is a type of degenerative joint disorder that can affect the TMJ.

TMJ Pain Characteristics

TMJ pain may be a dull, ongoing irritation or a sharp, searing pain. This discomfort may be more apparent when you move your jaw to talk, chew, swallow, or yawn. In addition to experiencing ear and jaw pain, you might also feel soreness along the side of your head, neck, temple, cheek, face, lower jaw, and teeth. Other common symptoms of TMJ also include:

  • A clicking/popping sound when opening the mouth
  • Locking of the joint
  • Difficulty opening the mouth
  • Ringing sound in the ear

Remember to consult with your doctor if your aching ear is companied by any of these symptoms.

Why TMJ Ear Pain Occurs

An aching ear is a common symptom for people with a TMJ disorder. Because the TMJ is near the auditory canal, pain and inflammation in this joint can affect the ear. A ringing sound in the ear, also known as tinnitus, is often a part of TMJ ear pain. An ENT specialist can examine your hearing and eardrum to determine if your earache is related to the TMJ.

What Are the Treatment Options?

Treatment for disorders of the TMJ depends on the cause and severity. If you are experiencing mild pain, your doctor may recommend some of these self-care remedies to reduce soreness and tension in the joint:

  • Eat soft-foods
  • Try relaxation techniques
  • Do TMJ stretches and exercises
  • Avoid chewing gum
  • Avoid clenching or tensing your jaw
  • Apply moist heat to the area

Anti-inflammatory medication and muscle relaxants can also help to relieve tenderness. A mouthguard may be a treatment option if your TMJ pain is caused by teeth grinding; this will prevent damage to the joint. Orthodontic appliances are a great way to correct the upper and lower teeth, as misalignment can result in problems with the temporomandibular joint.

Finding the cause of your ear pain is important because it will lead to getting the correct care. If your earache is a sign of TMJ disorder, the good news is that you can reduce pain and discomfort with a few lifestyle changes. Incorporate breathing exercises to assist with relaxation, which can ease tension on the joint. Speak with your dentist or orthodontist if your TMJ pain is related to an incorrect bite.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

Was this article helpful?



Thank you for submitting your feedback!

If you’d like a response, Contact Us.

What to Do for TMJ-Related Ear Pain?

Posted on

Category: TMJ-related ear pain

The temporomandibular joint, or “TMJ,” is the hinge that connects the jaw to the skull, located just below the ears. You use this joint every time you chew, swallow, yawn, and talk.

Issues occurring with the TMJ produce a variety of symptoms, one of which is ear pain ranging in intensity from mild to severe.

If you suffer from TMJ-related ear pain, there are several ways you can get relief. Read on as Dr. Ivan Stein of the Headache & TMJ Center of New Jersey shares five tips to improve the tension triggering your ear pain.

Perform Specific Exercises and Stretches

Performing certain exercises can relax and strengthen the jaw and its connecting muscles and improve joint movement. Over time, this can provide ear-pain relief.

Examples of exercises you can perform include chin tucks, opening and closing the mouth, side-to-side and forward jaw movements, and various relaxation techniques.

Exercises shouldn’t be done if you’re experiencing extreme discomfort, though. Start any exercise slowly, as you may feel some resistance but the sensation should be tolerable and gradually get better.

Modify Your Diet

If you eat a lot of hard, chewy or crunchy foods, your diet may be contributing to your TMJ-related ear pain. Choose softer, less-chewy foods instead, as they are less likely to strain the jaw. You should also avoid chewing gum.

Make Lifestyle Changes

In addition to dietary modifications, making other simple lifestyle changes can alleviate TMJ-related ear pain. Here are a few easy suggestions:

• Avoid biting the lower lip and fingernails
• Maintain good posture
• Keep the upper and lower teeth separated to prevent the jaw from clenching
• Limit activities involving big jaw movements, such as yawning and singing

Wear a Mouth Guard

Since TMJ-related ear pain may result from nighttime teeth grinding or jaw clenching, wearing a mouth guard may help. A mouth guard can realign the jaw as you sleep and relieve some of the joint tension.

It’s best to consult with a dentist to get a custom-fit mouth guard because a regular mouth guard isn’t as effective at holding the jaw in place.

Take Pain Relievers

Taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain relievers, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen, can help relieve TMJ-related ear pain. If the pain is severe enough, a doctor may prescribe muscle relaxers. Applying a warm compress to the jaw can also provide relief.

Get Relief From TMJ-Related Ear Pain

If you suffer from TMJ-related ear pain, call or email the office of Dr. Stein at the Headache & TMJ Center of New Jersey to learn more about what you can do to ease your discomfort.

Call Today
For your Free

Contact Us

769 Northfield Avenue Suite 154
West Orange, NJ 07052

855.TMJ.DOCS | 855.865.


Jaw Pain In-Ear Device

Helps relieve symptoms of bruxism and other joint disorders.

An alternative treatment for pain and dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), located between the jaw and the skull, is the innovative Cerezen device. This small hearing aid-like device fits inside the ear and can be used day or night.

Dr. Luis Javier Arias Gallo, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon at Ruber Juan Bravo Hospital Complex, comments that “painful dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint is a common reason for visiting an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon”.

What is bruxism?

Bruxism is an unconscious clenching of the jaw that causes grinding of the teeth: this symptom most often occurs at night. On this occasion, the surgeon notes that “there are patients in whom the disease manifests itself only during the day, there are patients suffering from nocturnal bruxism, and in some patients the painful manifestations do not stop at all. ” That is why it is almost impossible to control bruxism on your own.

Doctors cite neurological and psychological problems as well as stress problems as the cause of this disease – and it is stress that most often provokes this disorder. According to the specialist, “psychological assistance is very important in the treatment of pain on the face and neck, but the problem must be considered from all sides.”

Consequences of teeth grinding

In addition to pain in the lower jaw, bruxism causes other problems:

  • Erasure of tooth enamel;
  • Headaches or migraines due to overexertion of the temporalis muscle located on both sides of the skull;
  • Deterioration of dental ligaments;
  • Discomfort of masticatory muscles and temporomandibular joint, as well as decreased mobility.

Cerezen device for the treatment of diseases of the jaw

Dr. Arias Gallo describes this device as “a small device that fits into the ear canals”. Curiously, the Cerezen device appeared almost by accident. One woman suffering from hearing loss and chronic jaw pain placed an incorrectly sized hearing aid in her ear, which caused her jaw to open slightly. The woman noticed that this helped her not grind her teeth, thereby avoiding pressure in her ear – so it was discovered that the device had an additional use.

Features of this device:

  • Ceresen therapy is a non-invasive treatment that does not require surgery;
  • The instrument is thick enough to apply slight pressure when the mouth is closed;
  • The device has a compact size for easy use during the day as well as during sleep.

According to surgeon Arias Gallo, “When clenching the teeth, the patient will notice a slight pressure in the ear canal, so he will prefer to keep the teeth as minimally closed as possible.” And most importantly, the patient will maintain the correct position of the jaw without thinking about it.

Advantages of the Ceresen method:

  • The device is approved for night and day use, although it is necessary to evaluate each specific case of bruxism separately. This method of therapy has a very important advantage over traditional treatment with a relief tray, which is usually used only at night;
  • The device is in the ear, making it invisible to others.

Mouthguard for the treatment of bruxism

Mouthguard is the most common treatment for bruxism in craniofacial dysfunctions. The doctor adds that “this treatment has been used for years and has proven effective.” But, unfortunately, there are certain cases where the use of a mouth guard is not appropriate:

  • Patients who remove their mouth guard while sleeping;
  • Patients who do not stop clenching their jaw even with a mouth guard;
  • Patients who cannot use a mouth guard because it is an aesthetic problem for them.

Masticatory muscle relaxation can be taught!

Biofeedback, or biofeedback, demonstrates to patients how they use their muscles to chew. The surgeon explains that “during an electromyography session, the patient sees the electrical activity of the masticatory muscles on the screen, and learns to relax them. ” The doctor also adds that “this is an expensive and still experimental treatment, which ultimately depends on whether the patient learns to keep these muscles relaxed throughout the day.”

Temporomandibular Joint and Tinnitus – Tinnitus Neuro-Tinnitus Treatment

17 Apr 2019 News, Causes of subjective tinnitus ah, no proof needed. The same goes for neck problems. Tinnitus is often caused by injuries to the jaw and neck, which we successfully ignore in our youth. But then, when talking, chewing, turning and tilting the head begin to cause tinnitus, many seek medical help. And they do exactly the right thing. Modern medicine has many opportunities to save such patients from annoying and annoying tinnitus.

Contents of the article:

  • 1 Features of the TMJ
  • 2 How does the pathology of the TMJ manifest itself?
    • 2.1 Diagnosis: where and by whom?
  • 3 How to treat?
  • 4 Neck problems and tinnitus

TMJ features

The temporomandibular joint is a complex articulation that allows the jaw to move not only up and down, but also sideways. In addition, it is controlled by the most powerful muscles of the human body – chewing.

Problems with it can be different:

  1. dislocation of the fibrous disc inside the articular cavity;
  2. injury of articular surfaces;
  3. excessive muscular effort applied to the jaw;
  4. arthritis, as a manifestation of systemic pathology and arthrosis, as a result of wear and tear of the joint;
  5. infectious processes spreading to the TMJ from the ENT organs, the mastoid process.

How does TMJ pathology manifest itself?

Typical symptoms for the problems listed above are pain when opening the mouth and tinnitus. The reason for the first is clear: swelling of the capsule, friction of the articular heads. As for tinnitus, things are a bit more complicated here.

First, the masticatory muscles are located next to the muscle fibers that control the structures of the middle ear. Therefore, the excessive tone of the masticatory muscles affects hearing, contributes to the appearance of tinnitus.

Secondly, in the pathology of the TMJ, small ligaments that go from the joint to the auditory ossicles of the middle ear may be involved in the process. Comments are superfluous.

Thirdly, the nerve centers that control the work of the temporomandibular joint are closely connected with the parts of the brain responsible for hearing and interpreting sounds. If one system suffers, then the function of the second is also impaired.

In addition, when the joint is dysfunctional, it begins to make sounds on its own.

And quite characteristic: clicking with each opening and closing of the mouth, creaking, even grinding. Very annoying and stressful condition.

Diagnostics: where and who?

For most patients, seeing a dentist is sufficient. But it is also worth preparing for instrumental additional examination: X-ray, CT, and sometimes MRI.

In modern conditions, it is even possible to do arthroscopy: to examine the state of the temporomandibular joint with the help of a micro-camera inserted into its cavity.

How to treat?

In many cases, TMJ problems are helped by simple recommendations:

  • change to a soft food diet;
  • relaxing exercises for chewing muscles;
  • use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs;
  • People with bruxism (teeth grinding at night) should have a special mouth guard fitted.

But sometimes, in order for the noise to finally subside, one has to resort to surgery and even prosthetics of individual structures of the joint.

Neck problems and tinnitus

The cervical spine is very vulnerable, especially in case of an accident. It is also prone to inflammation and osteochondrosis.
Regarding common diseases of the cervical region, we have a separate article on our website (opens in a new tab).

Read about the pathology of the cervical spine

Tinnitus in the neck pathology is often accompanied by psycho-emotional disorders (depression), cognitive (poor memory, difficulty concentrating) and somatic (dizziness) disorders.