Thursday, November 5, 2020

I Have A Ringing In My Ears...How Could This Be Related To My Teeth?

Questions From Our Members

B. Bradbury of Houston, Texas asks: 

“I have a constant ringing in my ears and my PCP suggested that I get examined by a dentist.  What could my teeth have to do with this ringing?”

Savon’s Answer

Although we are not dentists, we did do some research and here´s some of what we found.

The constant ringing in the ear is known as tinnitus.

It has been reported that tooth abscesses or impacted wisdom teeth can cause tinnitus.  In such cases dental treatment may cure the condition.  Other times the tinnitus will gradually fade over time.  One way this can occur is by aggravation of existing Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) dysfunction.  Infection in the tooth or impacted wisdom teeth can cause inflammation that affects the TM joint.

TMJ dysfunction can be treated by dentists who specialize in the condition.  They begin by fitting a mouth guard that aligns the lower jaw with the skull.  When needed, more advanced, non–invasive therapies are developed to relax the muscle tissues.

There have been isolated cases of bilateral sensorineural hearing loss and tinnitus that occurs following dental surgery to remove impacted wisdom teeth.

Another way that tinnitus can be caused is by the prolonged neck bending that occurs during dental surgery.  This is referred to as somatic tinnitus and happens when bodily signals due to muscle strain can influence normal auditory pathways.

Unconsciously clenching the jaw or grinding the teeth is known as bruxism.  This is one of the primary causes of TMJ dysfunction and often leads to tinnitus.  It is a habit, which can be broken, not a reflex chewing activity.  It can originally be caused by a number of conditions including allergy, trauma or high stress.  Once bruxism becomes a habit, the original stimulus can be removed and the bruxism will continue.

Bruxism can also be treated with mouth guards, much like TMJ therapy.  Further treatments may involve biofeedback or hypnotherapy to promote relaxation.

Original post from our November 2020 newsletter.

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