Ear symptoms are important, but ear problems and temporomandibular joint disorders are not mutually inclusive or exclusive. Although it is not unusual for a temporomandibular joint patient to have ear pain, it still must be understood that the majority of ear pain patients do not have TMD.
At the Piper Clinic, we look for a history of chronic ear infections that are not responsive to antibiotic therapy. If antibiotics fail to remedy the ear infection, then we will consider the possibility that the temporomandibular joint may be referring pain to the ear, or, alternatively, that an inner ear effusion may be developing because of altered temporomandibular joint mechanics.
Patients with a TMD occasionally have a history of tinnitus. Tinnitus is a ringing sound that originates in the head of its owner. The exact cause for tinnitus is unknown. There are some patients who have tinnitus related to mandibular posturing, and these patients experience an increase or an elimination of symptoms with forward posturing or superior posturing of the mandibular condyle.
If your child is complaining about an earache and ringing in the ears, check with your family doctor. An earache and ringing in the ears, also known as tinnitus, are symptoms of TMD. A complete examination of the TMJs will rule out the causes of the ear problem.