When people get into car crashes, there are all kinds of injuries that can happen. One that you won’t often hear discussed is damage to the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Dysfunction of the jaw joint can be serious, and it can cause lasting pain and other complications.
The joint itself can be damaged in a few ways. The muscles, tendons and ligaments can be strained and sprained or torn. The jaw bone could be dislocated, which stretches and damages the joint, too. Broken or dislocated jaws are a common cause of TMJ.
If a jaw is dislocated, then it must be reset. However, depending on the severity of the injury, it may be difficult to do so without muscle relaxants or surgery. In some cases, the jaw has to be wired shut, which keeps it in place as it heals.
What are the signs or symptoms of a broken jaw or TMJ dysfunction after a car crash?
If your TMJ dysfunction is related to trauma and a broken jaw, you’ll notice a few symptoms develop quickly after the car crash. These may include:
- Breathing difficulties
- Jaw stiffness
- Bruising of the face
- Dental-related discomfort
If your jaw has dislocated, you may notice:
- Trouble with an abnormal bite
- Trouble speaking
- That your teeth aren’t lining up correctly
- That you suddenly have an overbite
Diagnosing a broken or dislocated jaw and TMJ issues is possible with a physical exam and X-ray. Some serious cases may require further imaging, such as with computerized tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
This type of injury can cause lasting pain and discomfort. It can also take weeks or months to heal. It’s your right to hold anyone who harmed you accountable for their negligent or reckless actions so that you can focus on recovery instead of the financial implications of your injury.