Pain in and around the jaw is a common symptom of TMJ. But did you know it can also cause dizziness and increase the risk of experiencing vertigo?
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a sliding hinge joint that connects the upper and lower jaw. Like any joint, the TMJ is vulnerable to deterioration and damage from wear-and-tear or trauma. Due to its location and proximity to the ear, inflammation can affect the eardrum and lead to dizziness and vertigo.
With an office in The Woodlands, Texas, Scott Young, DDS, provides dental services for the greater Houston region, including the communities of Highland Village, West University, River Oaks, Rice Village, and Memorial.
What causes TMJ?
While there isn’t exactly a single or definitive factor that causes temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD), there are triggers and risk factors that can cause inflammation and damage to the joint. These include the following:
- Joint degeneration
- Teeth grinding
- Clenching your jaw
- Traumatic injury
- Genetics/family history
- Soft tissue injury
Signs and symptoms of TMJ include:
- Pain, stiffness, and tenderness in the jaw
- Facial pain
- Difficulty moving the jaw
- Pain and stiffness while chewing
- Clicking and popping when you move your jaw
- Bite and alignment problems
- Ear pain
If you have any symptoms or are concerned about TMJ, schedule an appointment for a dental exam.
How TMJ causes dizziness and vertigo
The inner ear contains a network of sensors that communicate with the brain and relay information about your position and surroundings to maintain balance. If inflammation in the TMJ joint disrupts or damages the inner ear, it can cause dizziness and vertigo.
Occasional dizziness is usually normal, but vertigo is caused by a disruption in the inner ear and feels like you’re spinning in place or that everything is spinning around you even if you’re standing still.
If you experience dizzy spells or think you have vertigo, seek medical attention immediately, especially if your symptoms develop after trauma or a head injury.
The treatment options for TMJ and vertigo depend on the underlying cause.
How is TMJ treated?
If your TMJ symptoms are caused by teeth grinding, Dr. Young and our team may recommend wearing a nightguard while you sleep to protect your teeth and minimize friction that can irritate and damage one or both joints.
Physical therapy and relaxation therapy help reduce stress and tension on the TMJ and also reduce symptoms. We also offer transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) therapy.
For more information about the symptoms and treatment options for TMJ, contact Scott Young, DDS, today to schedule an appointment at our office in The Woodlands, Texas.