Spinning around on roller coasters, amusement park rides, and merry-go-rounds are all great ways for a person to play around with their sense of balance. When this sensation is unprompted however, it can be scary. What triggers that sense of unbalance and where does jaw dysfunction meet inner ear dysfunction?
One example of jaw dysfunction is temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). When the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) doesn’t function properly it typically leads to inflammation, pain, and because of its location, consequences for nearby structures and systems.
How Are They Connected?
Let’s try something. First, plug your ears and then open and close your mouth. It doesn’t have to be opened very wide before you can start to feel the jaw joint in motion does it?
How are they connected? The jaw joint is directly in front of the ear. When the TMJ is inflamed, that disturbance can trickle down and cause subsequent inflammation in the inner ear known as labyrinthitis.
Why Does This Happen?
As mentioned before, these two systems are considerably close to one another. In addition to being close, the jaw joint also is one of the most complex joints in the body (consider how often we chew, talk, yawn, and sing.) And then of course the inner ear is home to the smallest bones in the body. So not only can you feel how close they are to each other, they’re also similar in the fact that they’re both vulnerable.
How Does the Inner Ear Contribute to Balance?
Balance is achieved through the coordination of multiple sense organs including:
- Inner ear
- Skeletal muscles
One structure in the inner ear plays a significant role: the semicircular canals. These canals contain endolymph which is the fluid that provides a sense of movement when a person walks, jumps, or moves. When the signals sent from the inner ear don't align with the expectations of the other sense organs, people feel dizzy, disoriented, and off-balance.
What Does All This Mean?
The imbalance produced as a result of inner ear dysfunction, particularly because of TMD can include numerous symptoms such as:
- Difficulty balancing
- Difficulty concentrating
- Ringing in the ears
- Nausea, vomiting
- Loss of hearing
Contact Evolution Dental Today
If you live in Calgary, Northwest Calgary, Cochrane or other nearby areas of Alberta and would like to learn more about TMD treatment options, you can call Evolution Dental today at 403-768-2433 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Kendra Schick.
*all procedures performed at our practice by a general dentist