I share with you some interesting information that I have learned in this blog on the connection between vertigo and teeth. This blog is not an exhaustive list of all the connections between vertigo and teeth.
Recently I have seen two new patients who told me that dental hygiene was causing their vertigo symptoms.
One patient was feeling a whirling sensation when she used her electric toothbrush.
It turned out that she had BPPV in two out of three canals in her left inner ear. We were able to fix it within two treatment sessions.
Now she can use her electric toothbrush without getting vertigo.
The second patient was feeling vertigo when he flossed and brushed his upper back molars. Once we treated him for BPPV in two out of three canals in one ear, his symptoms with dental hygiene were resolved.
I was thinking about this symptom presentation and I realized it is because the upper teeth are very close to the location of the vestibular system within the bones of the skull.
So if a BPPV crystal is loose, then any dental hygiene could cause the crystals to create a false sense of motion.
The way to tell the difference is to place a pillow or neck roll behind the head when reclined in the dentist chair.
- Symptoms that resolve with a pillow or neck roll are likely due to blood flow or circulation issues in the neck that affect the brain.
- Symptoms that persist with the head and neck supported in the reclined position are possibly a positional vertigo from the inner ear, of which BPPV is the most common.
Other cases I have observed that occur immediately following a root canal or other dental surgery can be caused by an activation of the oral herpes virus – or cold sore virus in the mouth area – which can travel along the vestibular nerve to cause a case of “vestibular neuritis.”
Symptoms of vestibular neuritis may not start right away during the dental procedure, but may start within days of oral surgery, are often quite severe, last for days to weeks and sometimes cause permanent damage to the inner ear.
For that reason, I often recommend for patients with repeated breakouts of cold sores around their mouth to request a prescription from their doctor or dentist for anti-viral medications, such as Valcyclovir or Acyclovir, prior to oral surgery.
This blog is provided for informational purposes only. The content and any comments by Dr. Kim Bell, DPT are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. The details of any case mentioned in this post represent a typical patient that Dr. Bell might see and do not describe the circumstances of a specific individual.