Tinnitus is defined as a ‘noise in the ear which may, at times, be heard by others than the patient’
Although no one causative factor has ever been accurately attributed directly to this problem, it is believed to be caused by an interference, frequently of unknown origin, to the auditory receptors [the nerve endings that ‘pick up’ and transmit sound] within the ear.
However, what is recognised is that, assuming there has been no actual trauma to the ear or any signs of internal derangement [damage] within the ear drum, then there is a multitude of ‘suspect’ external causes such as:
- Amalgams: resolution has been noted on removal – but only spontaneous resolution. If it does not happen straight away, there appears to be a minimal chance of future resolution.
- Non-vital [dead] Teeth: even in teeth with perfectly placed root fillings, a residual low-grade infection can exist around the root causing a low-grade inflammation of the surrounding support bone.
- In some case, there may also be teeth present that, although they have never manifest any signs or symptoms, have ‘died’ under old restorations with a resultant low-grade infection ‘seeping’ through the root tip and, as above, also causing low-grade inflammation.
- In both cases, this inflammation can be ‘picked up’ by the external nerve endings around the tooth and be ‘transported’ along the nerve fibers to a ‘junction-box’ [called a ganglion], positioned just in front of the ear.
- As this ganglion also collects and transmits nerve impulses to the ear, this inflammatory response can then be ‘passed through’ to, and cause, problems within, the inner ear.
- The Jaw Joints: internal derangement [wear and tear within the joint capsule] or external derangement [a dysfunction of the jaw joints caused by an imbalance between the chewing pattern of the teeth and that of the joints] can both lead to an inflammatory response which, once again, can be picked up by, and transported through, the ganglion to the inner ear.
- Wisdom Teeth: impacted wisdom teeth can press on the underlying nerve transmitting low grade nerve impulses up to, and through, the same ganglion into the inner ear.
- Nico’s: this is the short term of Neuralgia [nerve inflammation] Inducing Cavitational Osteomyelitis [bone inflammation].
- The source for this is old, poorly healed tooth sockets [or infected teeth as above] which contain bacteria that, once again, create low grade inflammation in the surrounding bone which is ‘picked up’ by the surrounding nerve endings and transmitted, as before, through the ganglion.
- Electrical Activity: all metallic restorations produce, to a greater or lesser degree, an electrical response which is measured in milliamps [one thousandth of an amp]. The brain also has electrical activity which is measured in nanoamps [one billionth of an amp].
- In a way similar to mobile phones interfering with the electrical circuits in an airplane [hence the ban on their use], this much greater activity in the mouth [which is also the ‘floor’ to the brain] can be ‘picked up’ by, and adversely affect, natural brain waves patterns.
- To date, the only research available was a study of 30 patients who had their brain wave patterns read before and after removal of all metallic restorations. In all cases, there was a mean dip in these patterns.
- Although not conclusive from this research, theoretically, metallic disturbance of brain wave patterns could create the ‘noise’ heard with tinnitus.
This can be identified by the reasonably simple expedient of four simple diagnostic therapies:
- Using a special type of local anaesthetic [‘numbing solution’], we can numb any suspect areas. If there is a temporary cessation of the tinnitus in either ear, then there is a very good chance the source is dental.
- By constructing plastic mouthguards, which could be worn when sleeping, for your top and bottom jaws we could, temporarily, eliminate a considerable degree of the electrical ‘interference’ from your residual metallic restorations. Any temporary reduction in the tinnitus would then indicate these as a source.
- As these mouthguards would also ease any jaw joint pressure from your bite imbalance, this could also be a further indication of your bite pattern as source.
- Jaw Joint x-rays could be taken both to eliminate internal derangement and to examine the positional situation of these joints within their joint capsule. This Iatter refers to the fact that there could be compression or distortion within either of these capsules which is ‘irritating’ the nerve endings around them – with the capsules being in very close proximity to your ears, this irritation could be picked up by them.
Possible Alternative Reasons
- High Blood Pressure – one of the main arteries from the heart run up the side of the neck, passing internally close by your ear complex. High blood pressure can affect this hearing complex with tinnitus type symptoms.
- Ear Wax : something as simple as ear wax can also, to some degree, replicate these symptoms