Here are my symptoms: Burning Left Ear, Crepitus in Left Jaw, Popping sound on Left side, clicking when I open my mouth, The constant burning and tingling in my Left ear, sometimes wakes me up at night and I can sleep.
Cathy333: I have recently developed similar symptoms. My right ear feels as if I have descended from an airplane and it has not popped yet. There is pain when opening my mouth to chew, and there is a lot of crepitus with motion.
Dr. Mehregan: Should I see my dentist or my medical PCP for the workup? What are the gold-standard tests typically related (MRI,CT)?
A dentist may be a starting place or a PCP, but chances are strong you should get referred to an oral maxiliofacial surgeon for a work up. Doesn't necessarily mean you'll get surgery, but they are the joint doctors. Like going to an orthopedist for a knee problem.
I have heard of too many dentists and orthodontist trying to correct the bite when the problem is the joint. You can always work backwards. If the surgeon says you need to get your bite alligned they can refer you to an orthodontist who specializes in this. I would not allow a dentist to do it. They don't have the training necessary in my opinion. I would also let the surgeon refer you to the orthodontist. They are not all created equal.
They will probably do a special kind of xray that examines the whole head. It isn't painful, and you may have even had one at your dentist, although usually the surgeon will have a better one. Mine can manipulate the image with his computer so it is completely 3D It is all digital and quite amazing. From there they will decide if you need a CT Scan or MRI. The problem may be obvious from the xray.
Sorry to be babbling on. Hope some of this is useful to you. My last jaw surgery (my 5th) was 10.5 hours long and they rebuilt the jaw using rib bones and tissues from my upper thigh, and turned out wonderfully. It has been 10 years and all I get is some muscle tension. No clicking or grinding. and I open at 40mm. (after surgery I was opening at 2mm)
One last thing. A physiotherapist trained in jaw joints is worth their weight in gold. Pre or post surgery. If you can get a referral to a specialized physiotherapist (soemtimes called physical therapists) you'll have much better results. Again make sure they have a lot of experience with jaw joints, you don't want the newbie.
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