The alignment of the joints and ligaments of your jaw is important for its proper functioning. When a single structure is out of alignment, painful symptoms can occur. Although dysfunction of these structures often results in overlapping symptoms, very different treatments are required to correct the problem. It is important to determine which structure is causing the symptoms to ensure that you get the proper treatment.
Ernest syndrome is an injury to the stylomandibular ligament that often causes similar symptoms to TMJ. This ligament connects the bony structure on the side of the skull called the stylus to the temporal bone. It helps to provide stability to the temporomandibular joint and keeps the jaw from sliding too far forward. Common causes of injury to this elastic-like band include opening the jaw too wide, vehicle accidents, and weakness of the tendon itself.
People suffering from Ernest syndrome may experience a wide range of symptoms, including:
- Pain in the ears and under the earlobes
- Jaw pain
- Clicking and popping of the jaw
- Changes in vision and pain in the eyes
- Throat pain
- Aching lower back teeth
- Cheekbone pain
In many cases, the first appearance of pain is not severe, but may worsen if not treated. This condition does not usually resolve itself. Treatment to alleviate pressure on this tendon and settle it back into its normal place can help reduce symptoms of Ernest syndrome.
Avoid Further Damage
The sooner treatment for Ernest syndrome can be provided, the better. As with other conditions, ignoring the pain in the hope that it will eventually go away can cause more problems to develop. One of the biggest concerns with Ernest syndrome is that it can cause the onset of TMJ.
The stylomandibular ligament helps to stabilize the temporomandibular joint. When this ligament is not functioning properly, your temporomandibular joint will not receive the support that it needs. Although these two conditions share many symptoms, simply seeking TMJ therapy will not fix the problem with the stylomandibular ligament. It is important for you to discuss all of your symptoms with your dentist in order to fully understand the cause of your pain and treat it effectively.
Having the cause of your jaw pain assessed is an important first step on the road to recovery. If you are experiencing pain or clicking in your jaw, please contact Dr. Lowrance’s office at (361) 851-8274 for a consultation.