TMD has been called the “great imposter” because it can cause so many symptoms. TMD can cause postural imbalances that lead to a dizzying sensation or Vertigo. If we exam the mechanism of this imbalance we can see how a poor jaw alignment can cause this debilitating problem:
Balance comes from the brain integrating three sources: the vestibular system of the inner ears, visual information, and the proprioceptive information of stretch receptors in the muscles and joints.
Your Dentistry Experts in Raleigh, NC Diagnoses Vertigo
Each of our ears contains a structure call the Labyrinth that has three half-circles in three planes- superior, horizontal and posterior. There are fluid filled inner sacs in these bony canals where sensing balance is accomplished by the movement of this fluid against the hair like organs. A change in the position of the fluid can cause disorientation and dizziness. The brain has to integrate this information along with what we visualize and what we sense in our muscles and joints in order to give us proper balance. An example is riding on an amusement park ride, getting off, and having the feeling that your are still moving. The visual clues and muscles tell you that you are standing still, but the fluid in the canals gives you the feeling that you are still moving. If two of the three sources of information are fine, no dizziness. But if two are not fine, dizziness, nausea and disorientation result.
There is a very close relationship anatomically between the inner ear and the position of the jaw socket. If you place your fingers in your ears and open and close you can feel how close your lower jaw is to the inner ear. With that said, a poor alignment between the lower jaw and upper jaw, which is part of the skull, can cause excess pressure in the jaw joint that is transmitted to the socket and thus the skull. This can move the temporal bone of the skull enough to upset the balance organ housed inside. Correcting the jaw alignment reduces the forces on the socket, eliminates the pressure on the temporal bone and allows the position of the balance organ to normalize, eliminating the vertigo.
Meniere’s disease is an abnormality of the inner ear. Symptoms include: Vertigo, tinnitus or a roaring sound in the ear, hearing loss or ear congestion, and a sensation of pressure or pain in the ear. The disease is usually found in one ear and is a common cause of hearing loss. What is interesting is that all of the symptoms associated with Meniere’s disease are commonly found with TMD. While many feel that there is no cure for Meniere’s, patients have been successfully treated using Neuromuscular therapy that reduced the pressure on the socket caused by a jaw misalignment, eliminating the movement in the temporal bone, and eliminating the vertigo, tinnitus, and pressure.
Our top doctor of dentistry in Raleigh, NC, can evaluate your vertigo and dizziness and determine whether it is related to TMD.