Poway and Rancho Bernardo, CA
Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, affects about 15 percent of the American population. People who suffer from tinnitus experience a frequent or constant buzzing, ringing, or hissing sound that only they can hear. However, did you know that tinnitus can also be a common side effect of temporomandibular joint disorder. Poway neuromuscular dentist Dr. Nicol Cook provides a deeper explanation of this relationship.
Here’s how TMJ disorder can affect your ears
Also known as TMJ disorder or TMD, this ailment occurs from a dysfunction in the temporomandibular joint, which connects your jaw to the skull on either side of the head. When dysfunction in the jaw joints develops, it soon affects the surrounding muscles, ligaments, blood vessels, and nerves. One of the nerves located close to the temporomandibular joint is the trigeminal nerve. Inflammation and restricted blood flow will lead to discomfort, and other symptoms of TMJ disorder.
In addition to carrying more sensory input to the brain than any other neural pathway in your entire body, the trigeminal nerve also supplies the jaw muscles used for chewing and the major muscles of the ears, which support the Eustachian tube and regulate pressure inside the ear canal. The trigeminal nerve often is affected by a case of TMJ disorder because of its proximity to the temporomandibular joint.
How a neuromuscular dentist can help
If you have unexplained ringing or pain in your ears, your primary care physician or even an Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) doctor may be misdiagnosing your problem. In fact, if your tinnitus is being caused by TMJ disorder, a neuromuscular dentist is the best-qualified medical professional to help you. Neuromuscular dentists like Dr. Nicol Cook in Poway have gone through significant post-graduate education and training that focuses on the alignment of the bite and jaw. Dr. Cook has studied neuromuscular dentistry at the Las Vegas Institute—considered the pre-eminent post-graduate dental educational institution in North America. In fact, Dr. Cook has earned the distinction of an LVI Fellow, which indicates an ongoing commitment to lifelong learning that keeps her up to speed in all the latest techniques and technologies available in areas of advanced dental study.
Accurately diagnosing TMJ disorder is one of the greatest diagnostic challenges in medical science because the symptoms of the disorder can vary so greatly from person to person. That being said, Dr. Cook has the expertise to detect this ailment and then provide relief, which is why choosing a neuromuscular dentist is your best choice to relieve TMJ disorder symptoms.
Stop living with the discomfort of ear pain and tinnitus. Although there are other health-related issues that can cause tinnitus, patients that are experiencing tinnitus-like symptoms should undergo an evaluation to be screened for TMJ disorder. If you have been living with tinnitus or if you believe your physician is misdiagnosing your ear pain, contact Smiles by Dr. Cook for an evaluation.
To schedule an appointment, please call (858) 673-0141 or contact Smiles by Dr. Cook today. We welcome patients of Poway and Rancho Bernardo, California.