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Tinnitus may be an indication of TMJ. Contact neuromuscular dentist Dr. Silver in Calgary, Alberta at 403-278-1415 to learn how we can help.TMJ (also called TMD) is a misaligned bite that affects the head, neck, shoulders and the whole body. It is a “bad bite”, where your upper and lower teeth do not meet correctly and is properly called Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (abbreviated as TMJ or TMD).
There can be many painful or uncomfortable symptoms of TMJ and one of them is tinnitus.
What is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is the name for ringing in the ears. Although no external cause of the sound is present, you hear a ringing sound. Tinnitus is to some extent an unexplained phenomenon. It can be caused by an ear infection, by a foreign object in the ear, by excessive ear wax, ear injury from a loud noise, medication, or by a hearing impairment. In some cases there is no identifiable cause.
The sound may be ringing, or it may be more like roaring, whistling, or humming. It may sound like ticking or clicking. The sounds may stop and start or be continuous, and may change their volume. When you get a tune “on the brain”, that is a form of tinnitus. The tune or song plays unceasingly and can become annoying or distressing.
When tinnitus is severe, it can interfere with daily activities and with sleep. Most often, tinnitus is subjective and therefore cannot be successfully tested or quantified. In some cases, however, there is objective tinnitus, where a physiological connection is found. An example is a sound that pulsates in time with the heartbeat. Sometimes a muscle spasm causes clicking or crackling sounds.
Tinnitus and the Jaw Joints
The jaw joints are located very close to the ears, as you can confirm by putting a fingertip inside each ear and moving your lower jaw. You can read more about the jaw joints at: What is the Temporomandibular Joint?
Many TMD patients have tinnitus as one of their symptoms. TMD creates chronic stress in the jaw muscles and nerve supply contributing to tinnitus.
Dr. Silver will listen to your list of symptoms and manually palpate the jaw muscles, testing your range of jaw motion. He will examine your jaw joints, bite, and general dental status and will be able to determine whether your tinnitus may be caused by TMD or by something else. If it is caused by TMD, he will include it as a focus in your treatment plan.
For more on TMD, please see TMJ/TMD Questions. At Southcentre Dental Clinic, we offer a full range of services for TMD, with a customized treatment designed to treat your symptoms and correct any dental defects that are contributing to the problem.
If you would like to schedule a personal consultation with Dr. Silver, please call or email our Calgary, Alberta dental office today.
Dr. Jennifer Silver is a highly accomplished dental surgeon with a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of Melbourne, Australia. Her educational accomplishments include deans honours list, an oral surgery award and best research project. Prior to this degree, she graduated with honors from Dalhousie University’s Dental Hygiene Program and worked in this field for 10 years.
The areas of dentistry that holds special interest for Dr. Silver include oral medicine and whole-body dentistry. She currently devotes time and resources toward helping patients with TMJ pain and sleep apnea, while continuing to provide general dentistry as well. Future interests include devoting time to additional oral surgery training. Jen strives to treat her patients as if they were family. She strongly believes in a multi-disciplinary approach for patient care. She is part of a large network of specialists that she trusts and collaborates with when helping patients.