Temporomandibular joint or TMJ injury is a general term for the collective ailments that is related to the joint that immediately connects the jaw with the front of the ears.
One of the leading causes of TMJ injuries is vehicular accidents and some experts say that many victims who experience whiplash injuries may also suffer from TMJ injuries.
The quick whiplash motion that the head and neck undergoes after a rear-end collision can cause the mouth and jaw to hyperextend, which leads to damages to the muscles and ligaments surrounding the joint.
Another common cause of TMJ injuries is direct trauma to the jaw.
In a car collision, the occupant may collide with the interior of the car.
Some drivers hit their mouth and jaw area on the steering wheel and this leads to damages to the muscles and ligaments around the joint as well.
The problem is that this type of injury is often misdiagnosed because it resembles other ailments such as sinus or ear infection and patients are given the wrong treatment.
Misdiagnosis also disconnects the injury from the car accident and the patient would not be able to make a claim against the liable party.
To help you recognize a TMJ injury, here are some of its most common symptoms:
- Pain in the jaw area and the area around it
- Discomfort in the jaw area
- Inability to comfortably open the mouth
- Clicking sounds from jaw movement
- Locked jaw
- Limited jaw movement
- Swelling of the jaw area
- Upper and lower teeth feels misaligned
- Chipped or cracked teeth
- Ringing sound in the ears
- Neck pain and headaches
Treatment is usually given by an orthopedic or a neuromuscular dentist.
TMJ injury treatments can range from the construction of a bite splint for minor cases to surgery for major cases.
TMJ injuries may also have long term effects including consistent chronic pain even after all the treatments.
That is why a victim who sustained TMJ injury due to the negligence of another party should file a personal injury claim.
He should contact a personal injury lawyer to help prepare a strong personal injury claim; the lawyer should also be able to represent him to court if the claim is denied.
This way, he can collect compensation for present and future treatments needed for the TMJ injury including payment for pain and suffering.