Can TMJ Cause Dizziness?

The human jaw can generate over two hundred pounds of force in the molar area of the mouth. This requires a perfectly balanced system of muscles, ligaments, and nerves to maintain a healthy and pain-free hinge or temporomandibular joint (TMJ). The complex joint TMJ lies close to another system that functions in a delicate balance, the inner ear. TMJ dysfunction, often abbreviated as TMJ, can affect many surrounding structures, including the inner ear, which plays a significant role in keeping your balance. Read on to find out: can TMJ cause dizziness?

If you have jaw pain or other TMJ symptoms, such as dizziness, schedule an appointment at Trident Dental for a comprehensive TMJ evaluation.

Causes of TMJ 

The TMJ is a ball and socket joint with an inner cushioning disc. This cushion protects the joint and allows your jaw to open and make other movements needed for chewing, speaking, and breathing. There are several reasons your joint may not function properly, such as:

  • Bruxism or teeth grinding.

  • Arthritis.

  • Trauma.

  • Jaw and teeth misalignment.

  • Stress.

  • Displaced TMJ disc.

  • Medical conditions such as fibromyalgia. 

TMJ and Dizziness

One of the symptoms of TMJ dysfunction that causes immediate concern is dizziness or vertigo. Dizziness and vertigo are common and effect one out of five adults yearly. Although the terms dizziness and vertigo are used interchangeably, they are different conditions.

Dizziness is a range of feelings, including lightheadedness, off balance, unsteadiness, faintness, or foggy. 

Vertigo is an uncomfortable feeling that you or your surroundings are spinning.

Dizziness and vertigo are connected to the function of the inner ear in helping you maintain your balance, and it is often difficult for a person to distinguish between them. If your TMJ dysfunction causes vertigo, you may also experience:

  • Hearing loss.

  • Confusion.

  • Nausea and vomiting.

  • Motion sickness.

  • Mental disorientation.

  • Feeling that you are falling.

Other Symptoms of TMJ

In addition to dizziness, TMJ can cause other symptoms, such as:

  • Noises such as clicking or popping.

  • Difficulty chewing.

  • Jaw tenderness or pain.

  • Headaches.

  • Pain in the neck, shoulders, or upper back.

  • Facial muscle fatigue.

  • Teeth not fitting together properly.

  • Worn, broken, or chipped teeth.

  • Toothaches and cracked teeth.

  • Facial swelling.

  • Jaws locking open or closed.

  • Inability to open your mouth wide.

  • Earaches.

Treating TMJ Dizziness

Some home care strategies can help relieve dizziness caused by TMJ dysfunction, such as:

  • Alternately applying ice and moist heat to the affected jaw area.

  • Avoiding hard and chewy foods to allow your TMJs to rest.

  • Avoiding opening or yawning widely.

  • Avoiding nail biting, ice chewing, and talking loudly.

  • Taking over-the-counter medications such as Ibuprofen.

Although the above steps can help relieve the symptoms of some cases of TMJ dysfunction, professional treatments may also be needed. These include:

  • Custom-made night guard to treat bruxism.

  • TMJ surgery to repair a damaged or displaced TMJ disc.

  • Braces to correct jaw and teeth misalignments.

  • Restorative dental treatments to restore damaged teeth.

Schedule Appointment

Contact Trident Dental to learn how we can help you with any questions or problems you might have about dizziness and other symptoms of TMJ dysfunction. 

Schedule Appointment

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