Do you suffer with ear symptoms such as pain or ringing (Tinnitus)?
Many of the patients that we see at our office present with chronic symptoms of ear pain, tinnitus, Meniere’s, and vertigo.
Many of our referring ENT specialists rely upon our expertise to help with these common problems, which are normally caused by TMJ dysfunction.
Sensitive or Ringing Ears
TMJ/CMD problems can lead to heavy stress on the ear structures thereby affecting blood flow and causing symptoms such as tinnitus, dizziness, vertigo, and ear pain. The over-activity of your jaw can make your ear canal sensitive. The ear has two important muscles: the tensor tympani (it attaches to the eardrum and stabilizes it from the excess vibration caused by loud noises) and the tensor veli palatini. This is attached to the Eustachian tube and helps to open and close the tube, thereby equalizing pressure within the inner ear. It is what 'unplugs' your ears as you chew gum in an airplane. The condyle (upper part of your lower jaw bone) can place over 50 lbs of pressure on the ear structures during every chewing cycle. If there is damage to the TMJoint (cartilage loss) this pressure will not be absorbed, by the cartilage, and it will cause direct damage to the ear structures. The ear is not able to defend itself against the powerful effects of the lower jaw placing such stress to this part of the body. For a full explanation of TMJ Basics please see our TMJ Basics page
Tinnitus can be defined as the conscious experience of a sound that originates in the head of its owner with no detectable acoustic basis. Everyone has experienced sounds that did not originate from their outside world, at one time or another. But the true tinnitus victim suffers from a constant ringing, hissing, or buzzing sound that in some instances can drive the patient almost insane. Over activity of the jaw muscles and the pressure placed on the ear structures by the condyles will cause ringing (tinnitus). It is not unusual for the patient with TMJ/CMD to experience ringing in their ears. The tensor tympani and tensor veli palatini are tensed whenever the jaw-closing muscles activate, especially during clenching. The reason is that the facial and trigeminal nerves activate the muscles of these two important ear muscles. Add over 50 lbs of pressure to this area and you have some serious consequences.
The mechanism by which tinnitus occurs remains a mystery to the medical world. Some literature states that it can be a symptom of some ear disease such as otitis external, chronic otitis media, or otosclerosis. But even in the presence of obvious middle ear disease, such as otosclerosis or chronic otitis media, the actual site of the lesion which causes tinnitus remains obscure. Because tinnitus can be a symptom of serious ear disease, such as an acoustic neuroma, it is recommended that an ENT or neurological evaluation be performed prior to initiating TMJ/CMD evaluation and dental treatments.
The dental profession’s interest in the relationship between ear symptomatology and craniomandibular disorders had its true beginning over sixty years ago.
Research has proven that ear and sinus symptoms can be related to a disturbed TMJoint. In 1962 Pinto published his findings and observations which showed that there is a ligament which attaches from the TMJoint meniscus straight into the malleus of the ear. Other researchers have related ear disturbances to TMJ dysfunction due to the close proximity of neighboring blood vessels and nerves. It has been proven that there is a direct transmission of blood and nerve flow from the ears into the TMJoint. Many of our patients who present with complaints of tinnitus report an influence on their tinnitus by jaw movements, or pressure on the TMJoint.
Many of the patients that we see at our office present with tinnitus (ringing in the ears) as a primary or secondary complaint. Tinnitus may occur unaccompanied, or in concert with other symptoms, such as:
Meniere’s Disease and Vertigo
Also known as idiopathic endolymphatic hydrops, Meniere’s disease is considered a rare inner ear disorder caused by fluid buildup in the chambers of the inner ear. It affects your sense of balance and hearing. It can cause vertigo, nausea, loss of balance, and sweating. Left untreated, symptoms get worse over time and may cause permanent hearing loss and ongoing balance problems. Many of our TMJ patients present with some of these symptoms. We actually designate Meniere’s as a side effect of TMJ problems because we don’t feel it is an actual disease. Our treatments are over 90% effective in eliminating this 'disease.' Vertigo, likewise, is easily treated.
Tinnitus and Earache Pain – Age Factors?
There are no age factors if you are experiencing tinnitus or other ear problems. Young patients such as the one shown in this photo can develop ear problems as young as 2. Children can suffer with hearing loss and other neuromuscular difficulties. Some of these problems may be genetically based symptoms that are not diagnosed. A large majority of children who receive ear tubes have underlying jaw imbalance problems such as overbites. Correction of such imbalances allows us to treat these children and decrease the chances of requiring ear tubes, antibiotics, and other unnecessary ENT treatment.
Some other common complaints that can be seen at any age include:
- Dizziness (vertigo)
- Otalgia (ear pain)
- Impaired hearing
- Stuffy sensations in the ear
- Sinus pain
- Frequent sore throats
Patients with tinnitus and ear problems usually present to our office desperately looking for a solution for their multiple problems. The effect on the individual can vary from mild awareness to reduced work capacity, lack of concentration, total disability, and in some cases suicide.
Prior to initiating the dental assessment for TMJ/CMD, a thorough medical evaluation is necessary. Appropriate medical and neurological referrals should be made. A number of symptoms and signs can be found in association with tinnitus. These include:
- Worn down teeth
- Tenderness of the muscles of mastication
- Pain in or around the TMJoint (with or without noises)
- Otalgia (ear pain) aggravated by mandibular movement
- Neck pain
- Poorly fitting dental work or dentures
- Bruxism (tooth grinding)
- Dizziness and disequilibrium
- Stuffiness in the ears
Clinical observations have found that tinnitus is present in approximately one-third of the patients who present with ear pain, fullness, hearing loss, etc. After proper dental therapy is performed, tinnitus is generally relieved.
For Self Diagnosis, click here.
What Causes Tinnitus?
As explained on this page, the major cause of tinnitus is due to a damaged or compressed TMJoint or CMD problem (craniomandibular imbalance). Other causes of tinnitus can be related to:
- Heavy metal toxicity
- Parasitic infections
- Viral infections, especially EBV
Often, using blood tests to screen for heavy metals is inconclusive as heavy metals deposit in your connective tissue and do NOT flow around in your blood! Biometric screening and urine provocation tests can provide more insight and help to determine if you have heavy metal toxicity. People who are at risk of heavy metal toxicity include:
- Those who have had joint replacements
- Those who have had dental implants manufactured in other countries
- Those who have amalgam (silver/mercury fillings)
- Those who consume fish such as tuna
- Those who live in homes that have lead paint
Digestive parasitic infections can be diagnosed using stool samples. Circulatory parasitic infections can be diagnosed using blood testing. An infectious disease specialist should be consulted. Viral testing can be effective with Biometric testing. See us for more answers!
Often, heavy metal problems present themselves as psoriasis, urticaria (itching of the skin), allergic type reactions, mental fog, dizziness, headaches, and other neurologic problems. If you suspect any such issues call us for a free consultation on your tinnitus earache pain so that we can evaluate you.
More information can be found on our Biological Dentistry Website.
Find Relief from Tinnitus, Ear Pain, Meniere’s, Dizziness, and Vertigo
Today’s modern therapies allows us to have incredible results with many related ear complaints, including tinnitus, vertigo, and Meniere’s. The earlier you seek treatment the better your chances of achieving successful treatment outcome. See us at our Michigan based office for answers. Contact us