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Oral Surgery/TMJ Causing Ear Thumps?

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Question
Hello I would appreciate any advice you can give me on this. I have a thumping sensation in my ear that might be caused by over tense muscles in the ear area/tmj area. It might be an ear muscle like the tensor tympani but it could also be the tmj causing this tension. What can I do to get diagnosed and what tests are there to see if anything really is wrong with the tmj or ear muscles? Would I need to see a tmj expert or dentist? Thank you.

Answer
Arnold - First of all for your type of symptoms a regular dentist and TMJ specialist might not be a good pathway to discover what is really occurring.  My suggestion is that you have yourself examined by a board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon.  This type of doctor is more trained and knowledgeable about the causes of the symptoms you describe.  

You yourself can assist in the diagnosis.  Simply, begin warm moist compresses to both sides of your face, at the same time.  Place these warm moist compresses from the temple region to the bottom of your jaw.  Do it for about 5-10 minutes, 4-5 times a day.  If, within 5 days, you see a decrease in the symptoms, the problem is probably muscular in origin.  Either way, see a board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon to evaluate and diagnose your problem.  If you have additional questions, feel free to contact me again.

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Joel S. Teig, DMD, Diplomate ABOMS, retired

Expertise

I am a board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon available to answer questions related to tooth extractions, implant insertion, facial recontruction, facial and oral tumor removal, TMJ dysfunction and various successful treatments, including surgery if all else fails, and occlusal discrepancy requiring orthognathic or jaw surgery.

Experience

Board Certified Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon practicing for over 20 years. Assistant Clincal Professor at State University School of Dentistry.

Organizations
American Dental Association, American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons

Education/Credentials
BA- University of Connecticut DMD-University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine Oral and Maxillofacial Surgical Residency - Roosevelt Hospital, NYC

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