Oh no, the world around you is spinning—or is it? It really isn’t spinning, but you are definitely feeling dizzy, which is commonly called vertigo. While dizziness and vertigo are not serious, they will typically get better on their own. However, vertigo can be a symptom of TMD complications.

Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) can be a “great impostor,” which causes postural imbalance that leads to a dizzying sensation of a person’s surroundings. Vertigo is a feeling that you are spinning or moving, while you are really standing in one place. So, what is the connection between vertigo and TMD?

The Connection

Balance comes from the brain and integrates information from two main sources: 60% from the vestibular system in the inner ears and the other 40% from visual information. It can also come from the “proprioception” information from stretch receptors of muscles and joints.

In each inner ear, there is a structure that has three half-circles in three planes—superior, horizontal and posterior. These bony canals have fluid filled inner sacs where the sensing is accomplished by the movement of this fluid against hair like organs. Each canal is oriented in such a way that the fluid moves when we move our head up and down, turn our head side to side, and when we tilt our head side to side over our shoulders.

The information from these balance organs has to integrate with the information from what we see and what we sense in our muscles and joints to give us balance. Your balance organ lies within the inner ear, which is housed in the petrous portion of the temporal bone. If you put your little finger inside the ear canal and move your jaw by opening and closing, you can feel the movement of the mandible and realize how close it is to the inner ear. If the mandible is poorly aligned to the upper jaw, then there are excessive pressures in the joint that is transmitted to the socket. In return, this can move the temporal bone just enough to move the balance organ housed inside to be moved out of position as well.

Treatment Options

Through neuromuscular treatment and oral appliance therapy, you can find relief from TMD and vertigo, as it helps to align the jaw properly. With treatment provided by Dr. Mayoor Patel at Craniofacial Pain & Dental Sleep Center of Georgia, you can experience relief of stress on the socket of the TMJ, which in turn can help to bring the balance organs back to normal.

Dr. Mayoor Patel is an expert in treating TMD and encourages you to contact his office to schedule an appointment for further consultation.