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Suffering a TMJ injury after a car accident

Perhaps the car accident you were in here in Pomona, California, led to you injuring your jaw, or more specifically the temporomandibular joint that connects the jaw to the skull. Whatever their cause, TMJ disorders can be debilitating, and in extreme cases, they may only be healed through surgery.

When car crashes lead to TMJ disorders

Rear-end collisions send out a force that causes a person’s neck to rapidly snap back and forth, straining or tearing the neck muscles and ligaments and leaving the person with a condition called whiplash. That same force can cause a TMJ disorder by pushing the jaw open and applying additional pressure to each TMJ. A disorder can also arise when victims hit their jaw on the dashboard or steering wheel or when an airbag deploys and strikes their jaw.

A wide range of symptoms

Most victims with TMJ disorders will only rarely be able to open their mouth widely, eat or chew without pain. Sometimes, their jaw may lock up. Whatever pain they experience while speaking or eating may extend to their face, neck and shoulders, and the side of their face may swell. They may additionally suffer from:

• Chronic earaches
• Continual headaches
• Hearing loss

Having it diagnosed and treated

Crash victims with neck and shoulder pain may simply attribute it to whiplash and never have it properly diagnosed by a dentist or an ear, nose and throat specialist. If they do, then they could have the TMJ disorder treated in a variety of ways, perhaps starting with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, a heat or ice treatment and facial massages. Should the symptoms persist, victims may need to undergo surgery.

Crash victims and personal injury law

Under this state’s personal injury laws, you may be able to seek compensation from the insurance company of the driver who caused the accident. A fair settlement is far from guaranteed as insurance companies have a legal team ready to fight for them, so you may want a lawyer to represent you. The lawyer may bring in investigators and other third parties to help strengthen the case.