Meniere’s Disease is a condition that affects the inner ear and causes vertigo, a type of dizziness that makes you feel like you’re spinning around. It can also cause ringing in the ear (tinnitus), pressure or fullness in the ear, as well as fluctuating hearing loss. It’s estimated that more than 615,000 Americans suffer from Meniere’s Disease. What makes this condition truly unique is that there is no known root cause or cure. However, several studies suggest a link between Meniere’s Disease and temporomandibular joint disorders (TMDs).
If you think you might have Meniere’s Disease and would like to find relief from your symptoms, please schedule a consultation at Michigan Center for TMJ & Sleep Wellness by calling (248) 480-0085 today.
What Causes Meniere’s Disease?
Although the root cause of Meniere’s Disease isn’t known, doctors think they have an understanding of how symptoms begin to develop. To start, fluid builds up in the inner ear section known as the labyrinth. This is the structure that helps with balance and hearing. As the fluid builds up, it begins to interfere with brain signals and thus causes vertigo and hearing problems.
The cause of the fluid build-up is unknown but some potential theories include:
- Poor drainage
- Allergic reaction
- Autoimmune response
- Viral infection
- Head trauma
- Inherited tendency
Signs and Symptoms of Meniere’s Disease
The following are the most common signs and symptoms of Meniere’s Disease.
- Hearing Loss – Symptoms of hearing loss can come and go, especially in the early stages of Meniere’s Disease. Eventually, it’s possible to experience permanent hearing loss.
- Ringing In The Ears (Tinnitus) – Tinnitus is the perception of hearing a buzzing, ringing, whistling, hissing, or roaring sound in the ear.
- Recurring Episodes of Vertigo – These spinning sensations begin and end spontaneously without warning and typically last between 20 minutes and several hours but never more than 24 hours. If severe enough, it can cause nausea and vomiting.
- Fullness Feeling in Ear – Those with Meniere’s Disease may feel pressure on the side of their head or in the affected ears.
If you experience any of the symptoms listed above, there is a very likely chance you have Meniere’s Disease. We encourage you to book an appointment with our Detroit TMJ dentist at Michigan Center for TMJ & Sleep by calling (248) 480-0085.
The Link to TMD
Meniere’s Disease and TMD share similar symptoms. For instance, those with TMD often experience the symptoms listed above in addition to jaw, neck, shoulder, or back pain, frequent headaches and migraines, and clicking and popping in the jaw. Unfortunately, ear pain is often passed off as being an ear infection and when an examination comes back as normal, patients feel hopeless to relieve their pain. However, the source of ear pain can actually be a direct result of TMD or a misaligned bite.
90% of TMD symptoms originate from muscles. The trigeminal nerve controls the muscles associated with the ear as well as the head and neck. When the jaw has a poor alignment, it can cause compression on the trigeminal and facial nerves which results in muscle spasms that can cause ear, head, and neck pain.
The misalignment can also affect the nearby ear structures due to pressure on the tympanic bone and petrotympanic fissure. In TMD cases, the condylar head has posterior displacement which results in compression on vital structures and increased pressure on the area which can cause ear symptoms.
When a bite has a misalignment, the muscles associated with posture overwork themselves to compensate for the imbalance. This results in muscle spasms and trigger points, most that are close to the ears, and therefore lead to symptoms associated with Meniere’s Disease.
A study conducted by Bjorn and Agerburg found that TMD treatment helped improved symptoms of Meniere’s Disease. The results suggest a clear association with TMD and that the same muscular tension, stress, and nervousness caused these ailments.
Dr. Haddad treated two patients for TMDs with neuromuscular treatment and those two patients noticed an improvement in their Meniere’s symptoms. This has given hope to patients with Meniere’s Disease that their symptoms will become manageable by addressing TMD.
Treating Meniere’s Disease
If you suffer from symptoms of Meniere’s Disease, you might benefit from TMD treatment using a technique known as neuromuscular dentistry. Neuromuscular dentistry focuses on realigning and rebalancing your bite so that it relaxes without putting unnecessary excess pressure on any muscles. Dr. Haddad uses computer analysis, muscle relaxation, and jaw tracking to diagnose and treat the symptoms of TMD.
Dr. Haddad will use the TENS unit to relax the main facial muscles to understand your jaw’s optimal resting position. He will then create an orthotic you wear during sleep to help your jaw rest in this position indefinitely. This treatment plan has proved very successful in improving or eliminating pain and discomfort.
Without treatment, people can live a low quality of life and experience fatigue, emotional stress, anxiety, and depression as a result. Vertigo can also result in a loss of balance which increases the risk for falls and accidents.
Dr. Haddad’s own father was diagnosed with Meniere’s Disease and Dr. Haddad provided him with a neuromuscular appliance that eliminated vertigo attacks and reduced tinnitus. Dr. Haddad also completely resolved all ear-related symptoms of another patient with this approach.
The overwhelming evidence has shown that treatment for these coexisting conditions can help those suffering find relief.
Get Meniere’s Disease Treatment in Detroit
If you’re suffering from Meniere’s Disease or other ear symptoms and you haven’t found relief through other treatments, TMD treatment might help. Please contact our Detroit neuromuscular dentist, Dr. Haddad at Michigan Center for TMJ & Sleep to book a consultation by calling (248) 480-0085.