Why is My Toothache Accompanied by Dizziness?

added on: March 21, 2014

Toothaches are painful conditions that can result from a variety of reasons. While the most common symptoms of toothaches include throbbing pain, swelling, sore jaw and gum tenderness, other complications may also occur, including headache and dizziness. Certain diseases and conditions may contribute to feelings of dizziness and or lightheadedness when experiencing toothache pain, as can the side effects of certain medications. Dizziness following root canal treatment and wisdom tooth extraction are also possibilities.

Wisdom Tooth Headache

Having your wisdom teeth removed may cause a painful recovery, particularly if the tooth was impacted or the root was twisted. Pain following wisdom teeth removal is pretty standard, as is facial swelling. Performing certain actions, such as frequently rinsing the mouth with warm water, helps prevent infection. “Wisdom tooth headaches” occur due to inflammation and pain around jaw joints and muscles, which may subsequently cause dizziness, eye and ear problems.

Root Canal Complications

Complications from a root canal procedure may result in inner ear issues and feelings of dizziness or vertigo. Problems generally occur when dealing with an inexperienced practitioner or when a root canal instrument breaks. Severely-curved canals may result in incomplete filling. Overfilling is another complication, as is canal perforation. An instrument breaking during a root canal procedure is rare.

Infection resulting from root canal complications may cause dizziness, however reaction to certain pain medications following such treatment may also cause dizziness or lightheadedness.

Tooth Infection

A tooth infection may occur due to wisdom teeth or root canal complications, but can also occur from tooth abscesses and other problems. Abscesses usually result in root canal procedures, however pain and dizziness may still occur prior to treatment. Damage to the labyrinth, or the small, fluid-filled structure found in the inner ear that helps control balance, is generally the reason for dizziness. This is due to severe tooth infections that spread to the ear nerves. Other tooth infection symptoms include:

  • Tooth sensitivity to hot and cold
  • Throbbing pain
  • Gum and face swelling
  • General discomfort

Other Reasons for Toothache-Related Dizziness

Other reasons for toothache and subsequent dizziness include:

  • Ear canal infection
  • Chronic sinusitis
  • Chronic anemia
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Middle ear infection
  • Heat exhaustion
  • Type 1 Diabetes
  • Migraine headache
  • Swimmer’s Ear


Your dentist will likely prescribe a broad-spectrum antibiotic to kill the bacterial infection causing toothache pain, dizziness and any other symptoms. If toothache pain is related to wisdom teeth or root canal complications, additional procedures may be required. This is particularly likely in root canal extractions if the canal was not filled up completely or the procedure was otherwise performed incorrectly.

Anxiety and the inability to sleep are also common when dealing with a severe toothache. Your dentist may therefore prescribe sleep aids to help you rest as you recover from the infection. However, such medications may also cause dizziness among other side effects.

Whatever the cause of your toothache and accompanying dizziness, it is essential to see your dentist if symptoms do not subside after a few days. Should pain and other effects worsen, contact your dentist to schedule an emergency visit as soon as possible. Have a friend or family member drive you for best results.

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