Many people are often confused by earaches when they present themselves in concert with headaches or migraines. The truth is that many headaches, migraines and earaches are caused by underlying dental and craniofacial issues. As a licensed dentist, Dr. Harrell has a unique expertise in helping people discover the root of their ear pain and headaches. Most tend to overlook the role that the oral system plays in causing pain throughout the head and neck, when in fact as many as 80 percent of all headaches may be caused by “dental forces.” Chronic earaches are very common among patients with one or more dental and/or jaw issues.
Perhaps the most prevalent cause of earaches is temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). The joint, which controls the movement of the lower jaw, joins the skull less than an inch away from the inner ear. It is no surprise that when this joint suffers, the pain radiates into the ear and throughout the head in the form of headaches or migraines.
If you have suffered from recurrent earaches that do not subside with antibiotics, it is quite likely that your earache is related to undiagnosed TMD or other dental issues. Misaligned teeth, especially those in the back of the mouth, can also have damaging effects on the ear. The teeth are designed to fit together, but when their alignment is disturbed the body identifies the uneven force as pain. Because the back teeth are in such close proximity to the ear, pain can often radiate throughout the area.
Tinnitus is a condition that is commonly described as “ringing in the ears.” Oftentimes, it is a misdiagnosed symptom of TMD. Aside from ringing, many patients report a clicking or popping sound in the ear. These sensations are very indicative of TMD. When the jaw is misaligned, bones can interact improperly and create a sensation of clicking in the ear. The stress put on the muscles in the jaw by TMD can also lead to ringing in the ears. Furthermore, some of the nerves in the jaw area overlap with nerves responsible for hearing. When these nerves are overwhelmed by pain, they can interfere with hearing and result in tinnitus. Needless to say, TMD treatment is an excellent way to address tinnitus.
At the Charlotte Headache Center, we are able to diagnose and treat your chronic earaches, headaches and tinnitus using the latest technology available. Make an appointment with us now by calling 704-540-5850 or use the contact form above.