Were you recently involved in a traffic accident? Whether you were on a bicycle, on a motorcycle, or in a car, the odds are good that you may have suffered jaw injury that could lead to TMJ, temporomandibular joint disorder. TMJ may be common after a car accident. Even if you didn’t hit your jaw.
So, how do you know if you’ve developed TMJ? Here are some important symptoms to look for.
TMJ Symptoms to Look for after an Accident
Hopefully, you got medical care after your accident. They may have noticed your jaw injury, but often it’s something that can go unnoticed, especially if you have other injuries or report other symptoms.
In fact, you may not notice the symptoms at first, either, but as other results of your accident heal or resolve, you may become aware of symptoms like:
- Jaw popping or clicking
- Teeth don’t feel like they fit together right
- Jaw soreness
- Jaw clenching or grinding
- Restricted jaw motion
- Ear fullness or earache
- Ringing in the ears
- Dizziness or vertigo
Some of the symptoms are easy to link to your jaw. Popping and clicking, restricted movement, or soreness in the jaw make sense as part of your jaw injury. Teeth that don’t feel like they’re coming together right can be related to the jaw being out of place. You may also realize that jaw clenching and grinding may be related to your jaw trying to find its proper position.
But many people don’t realize that ear-related symptoms are very common in TMJ. Studies show that perhaps 80% of people with TMJ experience some form of ear symptom, most often ear fullness or earache.
Headaches after a car accident need to be considered carefully. They may be related to brain trauma, but if there’s no evidence of brain trauma, you should consider jaw injury as a possible symptom.
But I Didn’t Hit My Jaw?
Many people think that they can’t have a jaw injury because they didn’t hit their jaw. This isn’t true. You can experience jaw whiplash just like you can have neck whiplash. Your jaw is suspended from your skull by just muscle and cartilage. When the body experiences the dramatic acceleration or deceleration that happens in accidents, these soft tissues can be strained. You can experience dislocation of the joints, and they may not easily go back into place.
TMJ is a progressive condition. It may start with minimal symptoms, but if it’s not treated, it can get worse. If you suspect you may have developed TMJ following an accident, we may be able to help. Please call (912) 234-8282 today for an appointment with a TMJ dentist in Savannah, GA at Beyond Exceptional Dentistry.