Auto accidents and TMJ


By James A. Oshetski, DDS

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ) is when your jaw becomes inflamed or swollen.  A high percentage of TMJ is caused by trauma to the jaw.  Automobile accident trauma may be the most likely cause of a person's TMJ.  When a person is involved in a motor vehicle accident, their body is jarred and moved violently in different directions.  This can affect many joints in the body, including the temporomandibular joint. 


A person can experience TMJ pain because they hit their head or jaw or the steering wheel or the airbag.  It is also possible that the whiplash caused the damage.  Whiplash occurs when a car is hit, usually from the rear, and the person's head is violently forced back and forth.  This back and forth motion produces pulling and tearing of the ligaments in the jaw.  

Following a whiplash, the person can have many symptoms, including pain or tenderness in the jaw, aching pain in or around the ear, problems with chewing, facial pain, clicking in the jaw, and/or problems opening or closing the mouth. 


The above symptoms can occur many months following the motor vehicle accident.  This is why it is important that patients tell their doctors and dentists that they have been involved in an auto accident.  A good medical doctor or dentist know that auto accidents can cause TMJ and will be better able to treat the patient if they have this information.  


If you are having symptoms of TMJ following an auto accident, please do not hesitate to call the personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Joumana Kayrouz at 248-557-3645.


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