Does anyone have TMJ disorder? (Ear/joint)

(43 Posts)
sarahjsdddd Wed 16-Dec-20 00:19:47

Hi all,

I wanted to ask if anyone has this disorder, I think I may have. Had several ear infections (and symptoms of with no infection present) this year, pain in my jaw, I clench my teeth in the night without knowing, my jaw clicks/cracks and pops loudly, earache, ringing in ears. Plus fluid in my ears (definitely no infection) which might just be allergies but could be related.
What symptoms do you have and any treatment you have had? X

OP’s posts: |
sarahjsdddd Wed 16-Dec-20 00:22:55

Forgot to mention terrible pain in my ear & jaw when it's cold outside blush

OP’s posts: |
AcornAutumn Wed 16-Dec-20 00:34:54

I clench my jaw and it’s given me some of those problems

I even had vertigo a couple of weeks ago and it seems like TMJ can lead to that.

Apologies for the terribly cheesy video but the massages recommendations here are very good

I tried a mouth guard but it’s grim to wear and while it limits damage to teeth, I don’t know if it actually stopped me doing it.

TheSilveryPussycat Wed 16-Dec-20 14:56:47

Although my ears were not affected, from the age of about 14 I had a clicky jaw. Apparently teenage girls suffer disproportionately from this. When I was about to go to uni in the NE in the 70s, my dentist said if it got stuck open I should go to Newcastle dental hospital shock

Some decades later, as I still had it, my dentist referred me to a dental consultant at the nearest hospital. I waited for my appointment in trepidation, wondering if they would offer surgery. The appt was 5 minuteslong. The consultant advised me to chew on both sides, as "favouring" the clicky side makes it worse. Doing this greatly improved things.

Up to a couple of years ago it still clicked slightly. Then one day I fell over and landed on my chin! No more clicky jaw at all, the fall must have seated my jaw properly (after decades). This may be a cure too far for you though...

orangejuicer Wed 16-Dec-20 14:58:58

I do. Advice was soft food and jaw exercises. grin

Sunsetdawn Fri 18-Dec-20 08:31:12

I do too. I wear a fitted mouth guard at night. This protects my teeth but does nothing to stop the jaw clenching while I'm asleep. I wake up with jaw/head pain a lot. My current dentist has not been very helpful beyond fitting me for the mouth guard.
I came searching for a thread like this.
I think mine started at a very stressful time, and has now become a habit.
So far I can live with the pain because it wears off with relaxation and deep breathing exercises, but I do fear the long term damage if I can't stop doing it.
@sarahjsdddd I wonder if you have trigeminal neuralgia if it's painful in the cold?
Or maybe there is inflammation causing nerve pain (I had a look at a map of facial nerves) I was getting more facial pain like that before I got the mouth guard.
I already have quite a lot of tooth damage (molars) as it was only when I was getting the really bad pains that the dentist suggested it.
I just wish I could stop doing it!
I'm off to look at the video posted by @AcornAutumn (thanks)
I'd like to look into seeing a different dentist too. Mine does not have much of a bedside manner.
I hope you are ok OP. It would be good to try to keep this thread going for ideas and support.

Sunsetdawn Fri 18-Dec-20 08:53:06

I've watched the video. I found it useful and the massage is easy and effective. My pain seems to be based round the muscles rather than injury to the joint itself, which is comforting.
They are quite cheesy but well worth the watch. I'm going to subscribe to them and look for the video mentioned which said about improving your posture to avoid tmj.


121Sarah121 Fri 18-Dec-20 09:06:37

I have trigeminal neuralgia which is nerve damage in the face. It’s the most awful pain. It’s triggered by wind and cold weather. It affects around my eye and back of the mouth (where wisdom teeth are). Lots of investigation but no infection or any other causes. I also have tinnitus and vertigo and hearing loss. I was diagnosed in my 20s. I am in carbamazepine.

SleepymrsE Fri 18-Dec-20 09:13:57

I have recently been diagnosed with this after a referral to the hospital from my dentist. Wake up most mornings with headaches / ear pain. Same when out in the cold weather from clenching my jaw. Conservative management initially - mouth shield to wear at night, soft food diet, don’t shout, heat pads for the pain. Review in 4 months.

SleepymrsE Fri 18-Dec-20 09:15:31

Also worth noting, my pain is worse when stressed and, I’m sure it’s the same for most people, this year has been one of the most stressful.

Sunsetdawn Fri 18-Dec-20 11:01:51

@121Sarah121 that sounds rotten sad Does the medication help much? What coping strategies do you have?
@SleepymrsE I'm on a soft diet now too as teeth are very sensitive since all the work to repair the damage. Luckily I'm not a shouter!
It's really not fun is it?
Does anyone have any suggestions for pre night time relaxation? I do breathing meditation regularly and a consistent sleep routine. From today I'm doing a news/politics ban and listening to funny podcasts instead. I hope it won't need to be forever but I would really like to break the back of the clenching (rather than my teeth and tmj sad)

SleepymrsE Fri 18-Dec-20 11:29:43

sunsetdawn don’t have any relaxation tips I’m afraid - I have a non sleeping just 4 year old and 6 year old so I rarely get to bed or wake up relaxed haha! They also don’t help on the no shouting front.

CardiganBlobby Fri 18-Dec-20 11:51:04

I have had ear issues before as a result of my TMD - stuff like blocked ears, ear ache. I haven't had fluid in my ears though. I have had really terrible headaches for days on end, and sore neck/shoulders linked to the tension headaches. My teeth are more sensitive, and I have receding gums (though not formally proven as a symptom). My jaw aches on particularly bad days and I have had spells where I haven't been able to open my mouth properly.

TMD isn't really something that can be cured though - I have been through everything with my dentist, and the orthodontist I was referred to. The conclusion was very much that it has to be managed, and things like CBT would be best to help relieve stressful triggers etc in the future.

I have found that the jade facial rollers that you can get are nice and relaxing and help to massage the muscles that are impacted (plus skin benefits!)

I do use a hard split, but am on my 4th or 5th now, as I tend to grind dents into them, which then exacerbate the grinding issue again. I am thinking of switching to a guard which fits around the front teeth to hold them together (if you try to align your front teeth, you will find your back teeth can't grind together)

sarahjsdddd Fri 18-Dec-20 12:24:34

Oh wow lots of replies, I couldn't find much about this online! Sounds like some of you have it much worse than me sad
The ear/jaw pain in the cold I've had for as long as I can remember, it's like stabbing and awful. The general ear pain seems to have started this year, I never had ear infections in the past. I did misguidedly have a tooth extracted on bottom left jaw a few years ago, since then my teeth have misaligned and I think that may have caused me to start the jaw clenching, I don't know!
Thank you for the video I will give the exercises and massage a try smile

OP’s posts: |
Sunsetdawn Fri 18-Dec-20 12:47:52

I think you could be on to something wrt the missing tooth @sarahjsdddd. I have various gaps at the back now which may misaligne my jaw, but I wonder if the also cause excess pressure elsewhere.
I hope the exercises and massage help you. I woke up with particularly painful jaw/head (temple area but sometimes it's behind my right eye - a very different feeling to a normal headache) at 3.30am the last 2 nights. Peri menopause could also be a consideration for me at 50.
Paracetamol helped, plus conscious attempts to relax the area, but it's frustrating when it impacts on sleep. But now I feel absolutely fine.
There really isn't much useful info online - I agree. I tried acupuncture which some people find helpful but 6 sessions, while relaxing, didn't do much for the clenching habit.
I was getting neck and shoulder ache (not really pain) and now I have regular sports massage. It's sometimes very painful but in a good way if that makes sense, and it's really helped unlock some physical tension. She finds plenty of knots and sore spots, surprisingly on my inner upper arm as well.
I've just realised I have tinnitus as well. It's not intrusive but it's definitely there. A sort of thin high pitched sound.

Sunsetdawn Fri 18-Dec-20 12:52:03

I'm on a roll, sorry. I heard somewhere that some anti depressand can cause tooth grinding as a side effect.
@CardiganBlobby how do the hard splints work? I have the sort that is silicone and is moulded over the front teeth.
Your condition sounds very uncomfortable.
@SleepymrsE I'm not surprised you're sleepy!

CardiganBlobby Fri 18-Dec-20 13:34:09

It's just a hard plastic split as opposed to a soft one. The dentist creates a mould of my teeth and a lab then creates the split to go over them very tightly. The idea is mainly to create a smooth surface on top for the top teeth to glide over and reduce grinding. As such when I create dents in it with my teeth they stop working so well. When they are new and smooth though it's like magic - the headaches stop very quickly.

The other thing I have heard of as helping is Botox - anyone have any experience of that? Basically paralyses the jaw muscle so you can't grind any more and apparently can really help. The only problem is that it is not permanent (and it is expensive too as a result) which I why I haven't really looked into it further.

Sunsetdawn Fri 18-Dec-20 17:23:22

I've heard of botox as well. It might be a good way of breaking the cycle.

121Sarah121 Fri 18-Dec-20 17:39:12

@Sunsetdawn i have both type 1 and type 2 trigeminal neuralgia. It comes and goes every 3 months in a cycle.

When it is time for pain to hit again I avoid going out in the wind as much as possible as that’s a real trigger. When I have pain, I struggle to eat, talk, shower, brush my teeth etc. All very painful. If it’s really bad, I lie very still and take shallow breaths because if I move any muscle, it really aches. It’s very debilitating. I don’t know if the medication works, I’m too scared to come off it in case it gets worse.

MumblesHereMumblesThere Fri 18-Dec-20 23:14:55

I have found my people!

Right ear has felt blocked / muffled for 2 years. I saw a couple of doctors last year but got nowhere and since covid I haven’t bothered going back. It felt like I had an infection / fluid but they said not. My hearing isn’t great and I get terrible tinnitus.

I also have a wonky jaw and a mouth guard from dentist but no pain or clicking / locking.

About 3 years ago I had a wisdom tooth removed from the right side - perhaps there is a link?

I produce a lot of phlegm in my throat - it’s really gross. Tastes disgusting.

I get headaches, earache, and neck pain. My skull crunches a lot and my neck clunks. My ear pops and squelches.

I have also lost my sense of smell.

I wonder if these symptoms are all linked or if it’s just a coincidence.

I have tried various nasal sprays, antihistamines, decongestants, etc etc but never got anywhere. Kind of resigned to it now.

Am reassured I’m not alone having read this thread, but would love to get to the bottom of it!

olderthanilookapparently Fri 18-Dec-20 23:25:04

I have just started a treatment with an acupuncturist which has really helped my jaw pain. Hopefully getting me out of a cycle of stress, clench, ache, stress, clench.

It's been a lot better since I saw him and he was quite aware of the issue.

I was a complete sceptic until I tried (this is not a cheap solution though)

Sunsetdawn Sat 19-Dec-20 12:46:56

That's very interesting @olderthanilookapparently It didn't help me a lot. Can you tell me where the needles were place. I expected them to be in my face/shoulders, but he mostly put them in my wrists and ankles confused

My relaxation techniques seemed to work yesterday. All comedy listening and viewing, and ignored the news. Also had a late walk, and took herbal sleep tablets. Had a better night and my jaw was more comfortable on waking.

olderthanilookapparently Sat 19-Dec-20 13:15:53

Hi needles all over from my feet, in my tummy, wrists and temple and jaw too. He also did some massage of sorts! It definitively helped

Sunsetdawn Tue 22-Dec-20 07:57:44

That does sound like more than the person I went to did. I don't think he was very experienced. Seemed quite startled at the prospect of putting needles on my head.

I have found the massages on the video posted above very helpful and I seem to clench less when I sleep if I consciously soften my jaw during the day, and as I settle down to sleep.
How is everyone else getting on?
@sarahjsdddd have you had any luck?

Sunsetdawn Tue 22-Dec-20 08:00:45

@121Sarah121 I'm sorry, I missed your post. That condition sounds life altering. Did it come on suddenly? You have my sympathies, it sounds awful flowers

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