Car crashes often have a brutal impact on the victims that suffer through them. Head injuries, broken bones, sprains, strains and more will affect the afflicted, drastically lowering one’s quality of life.
Victims can also experience disorders with the temporomandibular joints (TMJ), connecting the jaw to the skull.
What causes a TMJ injury?
Forbes discusses TMJ injuries that result from car crashes. They serve as a potentially harmful effect related to rear-end crashes in particular. This force from behind causes the neck to snap back and forward in a quick, whip-like motion (whiplash). While whiplash injuries most commonly end up associated with damage and pain to the neck, the force from this injury can also force the jaw open and place pressure on the TMJ.
Injuries to the TMJ may also occur when an airbag deploys. The violent force of the airbag hitting passengers or drivers in the face often results in broken noses or jaws. A victim hitting their jaw or face against the dashboard may also cause a similar injury.
What are the signs?
Signs of a TMJ injury can include trouble talking or eating, pain that radiates through the face, neck and shoulders, and swelling of the face. Victims of TMJ injuries also often report the sound of clicking or grinding when opening their mouths, or their jaw locking up.
Fortunately, TMJ injuries are somewhat easy to treat. You can treat mild ones with the application of ice or heat, massage, and a mouthguard. More severe cases may require surgery, however. It is important to seek a professional medical opinion before deciding how to proceed with treatment.