You have two temporomandibular joints (TMJs) located on either side of your jawbone. TMJs help you to chew, eat, yawn, and speak properly. TMJs are sensitive joints which make it possible to open and close your mouth smoothly. Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) is an unpleasant condition which involves both the joints and muscles in your jaw. Conditions such as bruxism (teeth grinding) traumatic jaw injuries, and stress all contribute to the unpleasant and uncomfortable symptoms of TMD. Beware of aches, pains, a feeling of misalignment, popping, and clicking in your jaw. One TMD symptom which may surprise you is pain in your ear.
Confusing an Ear Infection with TMD
Approximately half of all TMD patients complain of ear pain. Once checked by a general physician, it becomes clear whether or not this discomfort is caused by an ear infection. Location of ear discomfort from TMD is usually described as being localized below or in front of the outer ear. Patients with persistent ear pain are sometimes even treated for an ear infection by their general physician, in an effort to try and provide you with relief. A skilled doctor will steer you in the direction of a TMJ dentist to help diagnose that the issues are related to their temporomandibular joints. Ear infections and TMD earaches are so similar in the way they feel, instead of an expert dentist sometimes an ear specialist is called upon to diagnose TMD.
Relieving the Discomfort
TMD may cause discomfort in the mouth, jaw, neck, shoulder, and/or orofacial pain, in addition to earaches. Many patients report feeling a dull ache from the condition of TMD, as opposed to full-blown pain. Other symptoms reported might include:
- A feeling that teeth are misaligned when you bite down
- Dizzy spells
- General tension in the jaw
- Upper backaches
TMD patients have the option of exploring a variety of potential remedies which include physical therapy, stress reduction exercises, strength training, anti-inflammatory medications, and customized mouthguards from your dentist.
Visit your Corona Dentists
Dental Associates of Corona can provide your six month checkups as well as treatments for TMD issues. We provide comprehensive dental care for patients of all ages, as well as multi-specialty dentistry. Contact our 92879 dentist office by calling (951) 273-9580 to schedule an appointment today. We welcome patients from Corona and all neighboring communities.