Several TMJ patients suffer from ENT pain. While the cause of the (E)ar, (N)ose, and (T)hroat (ENT) pain may not at first be obvious, it may be due to an issue with the teeth or mouth. Specifically, the discomfort may be related to Temporomandibular Joint Disorder or TMJ.
Disorders of the TMJ & Ear Problems
Often people who are referred to an ear specialist are certain that the cause of the pain is an ear infection. But when the professional examines the ear and notes that neither a damaged eardrum or hearing loss are present, the next consideration is that the ENT pain stems from TMJ.
Having ear problems or sinus issues are often predictable symptoms of TMJ. This is because the ear’s structures, Temporomandibular Joint, and jaw muscles all share nerve pathways that affect muscle performance and tone. The same nerve, for example, that attends to the TM Joint and jaw muscles also decides the largeness of the Eustachian tube that extends from the pharynx to the inside of the middle ear. Due to this connection, a TMJ issue can lead to changes in how the Eustachian tube influences the ear, resulting in ear tension on the eardrum, pain, ringing, clogging, and more.
Also, TMJ patients may experience ear problems like a change in pressure on the eardrum or location of the three bones within the ear. The result is ear symptoms appear and remain a long time. In some cases, tinnitus (ringing ears) is attributed to TMJ dysfunction.
Linking Sinus Symptoms with TMJ
When ENT specialists get referrals of patients with sinus symptoms, a potential cause is TMJ. In these cases, the patients typically explain they suffer from sinus pressure and pain but the doctor does not find evidence of a sinus inflammation or infection.
Instead, it is referral pain that the patient is experiencing, such as the jaw muscles referring pain to the sinus area. When the jaw is sore and tired, whether it is due to overexertion or clenching of the teeth while sleeping (bruxism), can trigger sinus symptoms. An effective solution, therefore, is TMJ therapy that alleviates sinus symptoms.
Addressing the ENT Pain caused by TMJ
For patients with ear and sinus symptoms that have no apparent cause of damage or disease, it is likely that the cause is dysfunction of the TMJ. For a free dental consultation to determine if your ENT problems are associated with TMJ disorder, contact our office today at 713-590-9777