Are TMJ and Vertigo Related?

As if the tenderness, popping and clicking of TMJ weren't enough, TMJ can also cause symptoms related to vertigo. That's because TMJ affects the joints of the jaw, which are located in front of the ears. The effects of TMJ can spread to the ears, including the sensitive inner ears that control your sense of balance. As a result, you may experience dizziness.

If you frequently experience TMJ and vertigo, see a dentist or a physician.

TMJ and Related Symptoms

TMJ is an abbreviation of temporomandibular joint, which is the joint where your jaw attaches to your skull. When this area becomes inflamed or misaligned, it causes symptoms like popping noises or locking of the jaw when you open your mouth, tenderness and pain, headaches, neck pain and facial pain.

Occasionally, people with TMJ experience additional symptoms like tinnitus and dizziness, which may point to an inner ear issue.


According to the University of California San Francisco Medical Center, an attack of vertigo feels as though you or your surroundings are moving. The sensation feels like "spinning, whirling or moving vertically or horizontally," and you may also experience involuntary eye movements, nausea, hearing loss and other symptoms.

Vertigo is caused by problems in the inner ear, which is a sensitive part of your ear close to the temporomandibular joint.

TMJ and Vertigo

The TMJ Association explains how TMJ and vertigo are related: The inner ear contains the sensors that tell your brain about your body's position and movement. When your jaw joint is inflamed, as it is with TMJ, the inflammation can also reach the inner ear. Consequently, the inflammation disrupts the signals to the brain about your body's position in space, leading to symptoms of vertigo.

Treatments for TMJ and Vertigo

People who often experience vertigo as a result of their TMJ should avoid driving and other activities where dizziness puts themselves or others in danger. See a dentist or a physician for advice on treatments that alleviate the symptoms of TMJ, like dental splints, massage, anti-inflammatory medications and relaxation techniques.

TMJ often resolves by itself without treatment, but your dentist can also help you alleviate the pain and manage the difficulties of the condition. If opening your mouth wide enough to brush and floss your teeth is difficult or painful, rinse daily with Colgate Total Advanced Pro-Shield mouthwash, which kills 99 percent of germs on contact, freshens breath and helps prevent gingivitis.

Vertigo isn't a common complication, but in some cases, it could be related to your TMJ. Remember to tell your dentist or physician all your symptoms so that they can help find the best solution to your problem.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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Top Ways To Alleviate TMD SYMPTOMS

While there is no single cure for TMD, there are different treatments that may reduce your symptoms dramatically. Your dentist may recommend one or more of the following:

  • Medication – trying to eliminate muscle spasm and pain by applying moist heat or taking medication, such as muscle relaxants, aspirin, other over-the-counter pain-relievers or anti-inflammatory drugs.

  • Wear a night guard – reduce the harmful effects of tooth clenching and grinding by wearing a night guard or splint.

  • Relax – learning relaxation techniques to help control muscle tension in the jaw. Your dentist may suggest you seek training or counseling to help eliminate stress.