Well the new year has given me a new unexplained medical problem. It started about a month ago when I woke up and noticed this crunchy sensation in my right ear whenever I ate food or bit my teeth. I was convinced that it was something in my ear causing this like a wax buildup or fluid. I've had this sensation before with sinus and ear infections. I went to work with my usual techniques like sealing up my ears when I shower with plugs and putting drops in my ear. Nothing would even diminish the sensation.
It felt like I had dried up leaves inside my ear. The only relief I got was when I plugged my ear with my finger while eating.
I saw a nurse practiioner, and she looked in my ear and said I had a bit of wax and debris, but nothing to be concerned. She suggested I have TMJ because I felt a small bit of pain when she pushed on the back of my jaw. Also,the fact that I grind my teeth at night,and that the ear sensation only happens when I move my jaw.
The sensation finally went away but it was replaced with more troubling sensations. Last week, I noticed when I bite down, I have an overbite and it seems like my teeth doesn't fit together like it used to do. My jaw muscles feel sore, and I can't seem to comfortable rest my jaw bones. The crunchy ear sensation also returned. Athough part of me feels like this is my mind playing tricks on me. If I can stop forgetting about the jaw sensations, it feels normal again.
So can anyone tell me if this definitely sounds like TMJ? Would TMJ cause an ear sensation like this in only one ear? I am praying that it's not TMJ because I don't have dental insurance. I have great health coverage. Is there any way to convince a dentist or doctor to treat this as a medical condition?
There is a sticky at the top of this board that has a pretty thorough list of possible TMJ symptoms. Ear problems are on the list.
Personally, my sympotoms manifested as ear problems first.
I have both medical and dental insurance. For the most part, the TMJ issues aren't covered by either medical or dental insurance in my case. From what I understand that is quite common. It has certainly made my journey to healing much slower since I can only take steps as I can afford to. Check your medical insurance regarding TMJ. Mine covers a lifetime max of $1000 for diagnostic only, none for treatment. My MRI pretty much wiped out the entire amount of that. I was able to get PT covered under cervicalgia and myofacial pain. Basically, the muscle issues that developed as a result of the tmjd issues.
I had to work hard to find a person trained in TMJ issues to help address my issues. Through research, I found that a well trained Functional or Neuromuscular orthodontist with additional tmj and/or orofacial pain treatments is a best bet to help. These orthodontists are trained in looking at the bite.
MountainReader is right, check the sticky and the ear symptoms tie in, I had a slight amount of ear discomfort but not as pronounced as you or MR had. My biggest thing was lock jaw and jaw clicking, and the misalignment where I couldn't close my mouth properly and a lot of muscle tension in my jaw. It was so bad I tried to punch my jaw back into its normal position because i could feel it dislocated and out of place.
I cannot advise on medical insurance and treatment or practitioners as I am in the UK, I was lucky in that the TMJ exercises, massage and stretches have resolved my symptoms.
Oh my goodness. I get lockjaw from time to time. I haven't had it since college, but it was annoying. I remember I used to punch my jaw to get it to open again. My jaw cracks so badly that it sends a shooting pain up my my ears. Its possible I have TMJ?