Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders are common and affect many people. You may experience many symptoms, including dizziness.

According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), approximately 12 million people in the United States have TMJ disorders (TMDs or also referred to as TMJDs).

TMDs are a group of conditions that affect the jaw joint and the muscles that control jaw movement. These disorders can be temporary or become long-term or chronic.

Trauma, arthritis, genetics, and other factors can cause TMDs. Common symptoms you may experience include:

  • pain in the jaw area
  • difficulty chewing or speaking
  • clicking or popping in the jaw joint when opening and closing the mouth
  • headaches

Other symptoms that are not uncommon include vertigo or dizziness, hearing loss, and ringing in the ear.

This article explores how TMDs are related to dizziness and vertigo. It examines what causes these conditions, their frequency, and other symptoms. It also discusses potential treatments and when to contact a doctor.

A 2018 report states that participants in various studies often reported tinnitus, hearing impairment, and vertigo with TMDs.

According to research from 2014, scientists do not fully know why TMJ disorders can lead to vertigo. However, the anatomy of the bones, muscles, and joints in the TMJ area could be the reason.

The researchers said one possibility is the poor positioning of one of the joints, the mandibular condyle. This could trigger earache, tinnitus, and vertigo.

Another possibility is sensitivity or hyperactivity in the chewing muscles, which can lead to contractions that cause dysfunction in the tubes that connect the ear to the nose. This could lead to an imbalance and hearing loss.

Vertigo is a sensation of spinning or swaying, while dizziness is a feeling of lightheadedness or imbalance. They can both lead to nausea or vomiting.

TMDs can vary, especially if you have any underlying conditions or have a bone or muscle structure that increases your symptoms. They are also more common in women between 35 and 44 years old than men or women of other age groups.

Other symptoms of TMDs include:

  • difficulty chewing
  • pain or tenderness in the jaw joint, neck and shoulders, or in or around the ear when you chew, speak, or open your mouth wide
  • jaw discomfort, stiffness, or soreness
  • headaches
  • ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • hearing loss
  • clicking sounds when you open your mouth wide or close it
  • feeling that your upper and lower teeth don’t fit together correctly when you bite down
  • facial or neck pain

According to the 2014 research mentioned above, scientists observed that TMDs could increase the chances of having vertigo by 2.3 times. In practical terms, nearly 60% of participants with TMD also had vertigo, while 65% of participants with vertigo also had TMD.

Moreover, 50% of the participants who experienced facial pain also reported vertigo.

This suggests that dizziness is quite common with TMDs.

Since there are not many studies on dizziness caused by TMDs, you can look at treating both simultaneously. Home remedies and medical treatments are available.

Home remedies

Home remedies for TMDs include:

  • Eating softer foods, such as soups, steamed vegetables, and fish. You may want to avoid hard foods like beef jerky, deep-fried food, and hard snacks.
  • Applying heat or cold to your face while gently massaging and stretching your jaw muscles.
  • Reducing nail biting, gum chewing, and jaw clenching.
  • Taking over-the-counter medications, such as ibuprofen, aspirin, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Remedies for vertigo include:

  • sleeping with your head raised on multiple pillows
  • sitting on the bed before getting up
  • avoiding extending your neck or bending down
  • moving your head slowly during daily and physical activities

Medical treatment

Medical treatments and procedures for TMDs include:

Other treatments that may work but need more research to be conclusive include:

  • oral placements, such as mouth guards, occlusal splints, and stabilization appliances
  • dental procedures, such as grinding the teeth, using crowns, or changing your teeth positioning
  • botulinum toxin (botox)
  • specific injections into the TMJ area that trigger the body’s immune response to repair the joint

Medications that can help with vertigo include:

  • vestibular rehabilitation training (VRT), which refers to exercises for people with dizziness to help with balancing
  • drugs like prochlorperazine and antihistamines


If you take any of the above medications, speak with your doctor about how to take them and for how long. They can be addictive or lead to severe side effects.

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If you’re experiencing dizziness or vertigo due to a TMD, talk with a doctor. Dizziness can be a symptom of many different conditions, so it’s crucial to have an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.

A doctor may recommend lifestyle changes like avoiding certain foods or activities that could be causing your symptoms. They may also suggest physical therapy or other treatments. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to correct the underlying problem.

If you cannot completely open or close your jaw or have persistent pain, talk with a doctor or dentist. They can help you understand why it’s happening and how to treat it.

TMDs have a vast range of symptoms, including dizziness or vertigo. There are numerous ways to treat both conditions, including home remedies, medications, and surgery.

If you have any persistent pain or frequent episodes of dizziness, it is essential that you speak with a doctor or dentist. They can provide a proper diagnosis and determine if you have a TMD or an underlying condition.