The temporomandibular joints are different from other joints of the body, it comprises muscles and tissues, it also serves as a connection between the mandible and temporal bone. This means that it links the lower jaw to the side of the head.
TMD is a dysfunction of the jaw and temporal areas, it affects the face, cheek, neck and jaw parts of the body. It is a condition accompanied by various symptoms, such as persistent pain, headache, dizziness, and limited range of movement.
Dizziness may sometimes occur as a symptom of TMD, but it does not always signify this disorder. It can also be because of other medical problems.
Can TMJ Cause Dizziness?
Yes, TMD may cause dizziness. This is because Temporomandibular joint disorder is known to have a variety of symptoms that may include dizziness. Although lightheadedness is not prevalent in every TMD and may be associated with other conditions.
Dizziness in TMD is best described as a sensation that feels as though you are about to fall or lose your balance as if you or your surroundings are spinning. This is caused by an inflammation of the inner and middle ear.
Vertigo does not signify a life-threatening situation. It is a feeling of giddiness sometimes accompanied by mental disorientation, confusion, nausea and vomiting in intense situations, the sensation of objects moving, difficulty balancing, feeling of falling, weak, woozy, and unsteady.
It is also usually caused by migraines, infections, poor blood circulation, blood pressure, and diseases.
These conditions can coexist or occur separately, they may also aggravate underlying medical problems or trigger new ones.
How Is Dizziness Connected To TMJ?
There are certain parts of your body that help control balance and eye movements. These are the eye, inner ear, and sensory nerves. The combination of these 3 helps monitor your body’s response to gravity. They transmit signals to your brain to notify the legs, arms and eye muscles on when and how to make adjustments to maintain balance.
The eyes determine your body’s movement. Sensory nerves send messages to your brain about these body positions and movements.
While the inner ear hosts sensors in charge of discovering gravity and motion.
TMD related dizziness is not fully understood. Nonetheless, it is possible since the inner ear is connected to TMJ disorder. This is because inner ear disorders are often followed by vertigo. It occurs because of the inconsistent transmission of signals from your ears to your eyes and sensory nerves. When this occurs, signals are jammed and transmitted inaccurately and lead to difficulty in balance.
Other Causes Of Dizziness
Lightheadedness is not always caused by TMD. There is a list of other medical and health conditions that can trigger it.
A disease of the inner ear involving excess fluid buildup. It is usually characterized by vertigo, tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, occasional hearing loss and feeling of the blocked ear.
Migraine is a type of headache that occurs on one side of the head. It is accompanied by a deep throbbing feeling and vertigo. Dizziness may be slight and last for some minutes or hours, it may also be associated with sensitivity to noise and light.
Viral infections affect the vestibular nerves known as the sense of balance. They can lead to unexpected hearing loss and frequent vertigo that may be intense.
Poor blood circulation and a drop in blood pressure or levels may cause insufficient blood flow to the inner ears. This may make you feel faint or lightheaded.
There are other things that can also lead to dizziness. These include dehydration, low blood sugar, anxiety disorders and anaemia.
What Are The Symptoms Of TMD?
Impaired Jaw Function
A decrease in jaw movement and functions is prevalent. You may find it harder to carry out normal activities like talking, chewing and yawning without pain.
TMJ disorder affects the jaw joints and surrounding muscles. This may lead to a misalignment of these areas and result in grating, popping or clicking sounds when locking the jaw.
Limited Range Of Motion
Difficult jaw movement, strained jaw functions are also prevalent. This can be aggravated by activities such as wide yawning, loud talking for a long time, or gum chewing.
This is the most common symptom of temporomandibular joint disorder. Pain can occur suddenly, intermittently and intensely. It may be in your cheeks or in temporal areas.
Causes Of TMD
TMD is usually caused by muscle tension and pressure on the joints, sometimes triggered by stress, grinding and clenching of the teeth, and unhealthy habits.
An injury, physical blow or trauma to your face and jaw can cause a misalignment or weakening of the joints and lead to TMD.
Sometimes the joints are ill-fitted and misaligned from birth. This may eventually lead to a dysfunction of these areas.
Joint diseases such as arthritis, rheumatoid that cause inflammation. An inflamed joint can lead to a disorder of the temporomandibular parts and muscles.
The articular disc cushions the temporal joints. A shift or dislocation of this disc can trigger a dysfunction.
Risk Factors For TMD
Temporomandibular joint disorder may occur with or without these factors. However, a combination of these or the prevalence of you having more risk factors, the higher your chances of having a dysfunction of the temporal joints.
Studies show that temporomandibular dysfunction is more prevalent in adult men and women between the ages of 20 and 40.
Stress is a major contributing factor for a lot of disorders and health issues. Although it does not directly cause these problems, the habits picked up to cope with stressful situations is what triggers them.
Individuals suffering from health issues with connections to the joints are more likely to develop TMD. Health risks include jaw and face deformity, previous jaw or facial injuries, arthritic problems, wrongly placed teeth.
Depression, anxiety and other psychological habits that may increase your risk are;
- Jaw Clenching and unclenching
- Frequent chewing or biting off your lips
- Constantly biting your nails
- Chewing gums or candy for a long period
Women are more likely to experience TMD than men. This is because of estrogen, the hormone secreted for typical female sexual characteristics.
Diagnosis Of TMD
TMD diagnosis is done by your physician or a TMJ specialist m. This disorder shares similarities with dental problems and is often misunderstood as such. This also means that there are dentists who specialize in TMD dysfunction.
A physical examination is required, and it involves questions about your medical history, past or recent injuries, accidents and other health conditions.
After this, your specialist examines your jaw, neck, face, throat, and mouth. Throughout this process, you may be asked to perform some mouth activities like opening, stretching, yawning, biting and moving your face, neck, and jaw around.
Your physician will also evaluate the structure of your head, neck, and face. He inspects the disc between the jawbone and skull. He also checks your ligaments, bones, joints, and muscles. This makes it easier to discern which symptoms are with TMJ and the type of treatment method they require.
Treatment Of TMD
There are several methods available to treat temporomandibular joint disorders, although this depends on the severity and diagnosis of your condition. It ranges from physical therapy, medications and surgical procedures.
This is often used to minimize symptoms and maintain control of jaw movement. It involves exercises like stretching, opening and adding pressure to the mouth.
These are plastic mouthpieces fitted over the upper and lower teeth to prevent them from joining. Splints help correct the positioning of the teeth and reduce grinding and clenching.
Surgical procedures are often only recommended in chronic cases. This is because it is an irreversible process that may cause complications and risks. Types of surgery for TMD include:
Arthrocentesis. The simplest form of intervention for sudden onset is closed lock cases and restricted jaw opening.
Arthroscopy. Mostly done to put the articular disc back into place. During this procedure, a small incision is made in front of the ears to insert a thin instrument. It is then connected to a video screen to allow the physician to examine the affected area.
Implants are one of the most critical requirements for TMD patients. They help reduce pain frequency and make it easier to cope with the dysfunctions.
There is not yet enough research to prove the connection between dizziness and TMD. This is because dizziness is not always caused by TMD. Always go for a health check-up before using medications or self-care practices. This will help determine the right treatment for your condition. Discard unhealthy lifestyles and habits, they can make you susceptible to different medical health risks. Contact your health center or doctor as soon as you notice detrimental symptoms or the onset of complications.