The temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which connects your jaw to your skull, can become injured in a car accident. Perhaps you suffered, or continue to suffer, from a TMJ disorder after a car accident here in California. If so, you may want to learn about the nature of these injuries.
How accidents cause TMJ
Perhaps the most common crash-related cause of TMJ is whiplash, or the straining and tearing of the neck muscles and ligaments in a rear-end collision. The same forces that cause the neck to snap back and forth can push the jaw open and put immense pressure on the TMJ. Other times, victims may develop a TMJ disorder by hitting their jaw against the steering wheel or dashboard or getting struck by the airbag.
Symptoms, diagnosis and treatments
The symptoms of a TMJ disorder can be wide-ranging. Victims may have trouble opening their mouths without pain, or their jaws may lock up. Eating and chewing may become difficult. The pain they experience when eating or speaking may spread to their face, neck and shoulders. They may also hear a popping or grating sound in their jaw.
Doctors, but in particular, dentists and ear, nose and throat specialists, can diagnose a TMJ disorder. Treatments for minor TMJ disorders include the use of mouthguards, facial massages and the taking of anti-inflammatory drugs. More severe conditions may require surgery.
An attorney to take on your case
Victims of auto accidents who intend to file a claim against the driver responsible for their injuries may do well to hire an attorney. During your case, a lawyer may hire medical experts to determine the extent of your injuries and help with determining a fair amount in compensation. An attorney may then negotiate on your behalf for that amount, and if all else fails, take the case to court.