Did you know that ear pain doesn’t always indicate an infection? Sometimes, discomfort in the ear area can be caused by problems with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). The TMJ works as a sliding hinge to help you chew, speak, and swallow.

But “Can TMJ cause ear pain?” Each TMJ is only 0.5 cm away from your ear canal. With this close connection to the ears, it surely can.

What Does Ear Pain from TMJ Feel Like?

Ear pain from TMJ can feel like a constant annoyance or a sudden, intense ache. Sometimes, it hurts more when you move your jaw, but not always. When your jaw joint is inflamed, the pain can spread to your ear, making it hurt as well. Only a proper diagnosis from a medical professional can tell whether your ear pain is due to TMJ.

How Long Does TMJ Ear Pain Last?

How long a TMJ flare-up lasts depends on the person and what caused it. Usually, it lasts a few hours to a few days, but sometimes, it can last weeks.

Symptoms of TMJ Pain in Ears

TMJ ear pain can feel like a constant annoyance or a sudden, sharp ache. It might make some muscles in your face twitch a little. You will feel it most when you move your jaw to talk, eat, or even just swallow.

Even though it starts near your ear, you might also feel it in other parts of your face, like your jaw, neck, or teeth. Sometimes, you might hear clicking or popping sounds when you chew or open your mouth, and it might be hard to open your mouth wide.

How Does a Dentist Diagnose TMJ Ear Pain?

It’s hard to figure out if you have a TMJ problem by yourself because you can’t see inside your own ear. So, it’s best to see a special doctor who knows about jaw and face issues. The following is what they usually do:

  • First, they ask you about your medical history to see if anything might be causing the pain.
  • Then, they will look inside your ear to see if there’s an infection and check your mouth for any teeth problems.
  • Next, they listen to your jaw for any strange sounds and feel your face for swelling.
  • If they need more information, they might take some pictures of your jaw with X-rays.

Once they have checked everything, they will know if your ear pain is from TMJ and the root cause behind it. Then, they can suggest ways to help you feel better.

Final Word

If you wonder, “Can TMJ cause ear pain?” Yes, it can. Therefore, it is best not to always relate ear pain to infection. Various treatments can provide temporary relief. However, a dentist or an oral surgeon can suggest a permanent treatment.

Visit Dr. Samer S. DAR at Smile4Ever Family Dentistry. Our award-winning oral and maxillofacial surgeon specializes in TMJ surgery. Call us at (281) 213-5668 to book an appointment.

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