The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the hinge connecting the jawbone to the rest of the skull, and it can degenerate because of age or arthritis. Drivers in Indiana should be aware that a TMJ disorder can also arise out of car accidents.
For instance, the force of a rear-end collision can not only cause whiplash but also force the jaw open and put immense pressure on the hinges. Victims who hit their jaw on the dashboard or steering wheel, or who have it struck by a deploying airbag, can also develop a TMJ disorder.
Symptoms of a TMJ disorder
An injured TMJ can cause pain in the jaw, face, neck and shoulders and even cause the face on the affected side to swell. An injured person may hear popping or grating noises from their jaw, too. Speaking, biting and chewing will become painful with a TMJ disorder. The person may experience earaches, dizziness and even diminished hearing as a result of this disorder.
Having the condition treated
Dentists and ear, nose and throat specialists can diagnose a TMJ disorder, but victims themselves may delay their diagnosis by mistakenly thinking that their neck and shoulder pain is due to whiplash. Once diagnosed, though, victims have a range of treatments available to them, including facial massages, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation and the use of mouthguards and anti-inflammatory drugs.
Filing a car accident claim
TMJ disorders are relatively minor when considering the other types of injuries that can arise in motor vehicle accidents. Perhaps you were so badly injured that you cannot work at the same capacity as before. Whatever the nature of your case, you may want a lawyer to assess it and determine how much you might receive in compensatory damages. The lawyer may even handle settlement negotiations while you focus on recovering.