Lehigh Valley: 610-435-7400

Philadelphia: 215-567-6616

TMJ Injuries After A Car Accident

Car Accidents and TMJ Disorders

Research published in the Journal of the American Dental Association indicates that one-third of people who experience whiplash in an automobile accident also suffer from TMJ disorders. One of the challenges is that these TMJ issues don't necessarily appear immediately after the accident. Allentown personal injury lawyers have noted numerous cases in which it has taken a year or even longer for a client to become aware of the injury.

What Is TMJ?

TMJ is an acronym for temporomandibular joint. These joints are what attach the jaw to the skull. They are integral to talking, chewing and yawning. A slight problem can impact a person's daily quality of life by affecting those activities. It can cause a great deal of discomfort or pain in the jaw itself but in the neck and temples too. The term TMJ disorder refers to a broad group of issues. These issues can occur naturally but can also be because of an injury, such as a car accident. Casually, people often refer to a TMJ disorder as a TMJ.

Car Accidents and TMJ

In Pennsylvania, there are approximately 180 traffic collision injuries every hour. Low-speed rear impact collisions are among the most common car accidents. They are also a leading cause of whiplash. Experts estimate the risk of whiplash in these types of accidents to be between 35% and 68%. As mentioned, about 33% of those who suffer whiplash will also suffer a TMJ disorder. Many people assume that you need to hit your jaw in order to experience a TMJ injury in a car accident, but this isn't the case. Stress causes damage, and whiplash can put great stress on the jaw as well as the neck and head.

TMJ Symptoms

Be mindful that it can take months or even a year or more for symptoms to manifest from even mild whiplash. People with whiplash-related TMJ disorders tend to report more symptoms than other patients. They are more likely to experience issues in the trigeminal region, which is below the nose. However, discomfort and pain near the temples is not uncommon. People in car accidents are also more likely to experience stress, headaches and limited jaw movement. Symptoms to watch for include:
  • Vertigo
  • Anxiety
  • Migraines
  • Locked jaw (trismus)
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Pain in the jaw, neck or face
  • Clicking or popping when opening or closing mouth

Diagnosing TMJ Injuries

Both medical doctors and dentists can diagnose TMJ disorders. If you have a regular dentist or doctor, you should go to that person at the first signs of the issues listed above. They can perform physical examinations, X-rays and MRIs as needed. They can then refer you to a specialist if necessary.

TMJ Symptoms Won't Go Away on Their Own

If you are experiencing discomfort or limited function because of a TMJ disorder, it is important to note that these problems will not go away over time. In fact, they usually worsen, and there is the potential that any damage to your TMJ could lead to further deterioration.

Treating TMJ Disorders

Massages for the face and jaw are a common treatment. You may need to wear a mouthguard and have orthodontic work performed. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation is a common treatment as well. You may need non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, and surgery is an option but generally only recommended when the other treatments fail.

Have You Experienced TMJ Issue Because of a Car Accident?

If you've been in a car accident and are now experiencing TMJ-related issues, you should consult with an attorney as soon as possible. At Metzger & Kleiner, we have many years of experience navigating negligence cases involving TMJ injuries. We would be happy to provide you an initial consultation at no cost and without obligation. You can come to us, or we can come to you. To schedule a case review with an Allentown personal injury lawyer, contact us online, or call our Le

Speak Your Mind

*

© 2024 Metzger & Kleiner All Rights Reserved. Site Map | Disclaimer | Allentown Car Accidents | Allentown Truck Accidents