Of course there are many causes for ear pain, they can vary from ear wax buildup, outer ear infection, middle ear infection; a foreign body in the ear, sinus problems, or even a sore throat can refer pain to the ear. One cause that is frequently overlooked is the impact of clenching or grinding of the teeth.
The head of the mandible or jaw has a joint just directly in front of the ear. If you put your finger in your ear and press forward, open and close your jaw, you’ll be able to feel the jaw bone come into contact with the ear. This joint is called the Temporal Mandibular Joint or T.M.J. Many people lump jaw problems with this T.M.J. solution. To be clear, everyone has two T.M.J.s, you do not need to have pathology of the temporal mandibular joint to have problems with clenching and grinding or referred pain into the ear.
As a practicing dentist for over 40 years I’m convinced that the vast majority of people clench or grind their teeth and not all of them have T.M.J. problems, rather today’s stressful world and media scrutiny cause people to have more stress, and as a result they will clench or grind. The intense muscle activity forces the jaw backward and upward directly against the ear, this pressure can cause ear pain that can occur bilaterally, but usually a person will notice it in one ear.
One patient who was a former employee of mine had been to her Ear, Nose and Throat specialist 10 times, he finally told her “Carolyn you don’t have an ear infection, why don’t you see your dentist?” She came to me and I made her an appliance to help treat the clenching and grinding; and her ear pain disappeared.
I have practiced dentistry for many decades, and I’m not just a dentist, but also a patient that suffers from clenching and grinding. Over the last several years I have developed a product called GrindReliefN. This product is smaller than the typical Horseshoe devices; it covers only the first 6 to 8 front teeth, it has a central bar which causes forced concentration on the upper and lower mid-line. This creates a nerve stimulus, somewhat of a biofeedback that reduces the clenching and grinding by lowering the muscle activity 70% or more. It is the most wearable, effective and durable device I have ever seen to treat the problems of clenching and grinding.
More information on this unique device can be seen at GrindReliefN.com. There is also a link to a video on Fox 2 News that gives a lot more information on the product.