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The Dangers of Jaw Pain after a Car Accident


Posted on 2/28/2017 by Manhattan Maxillofacial Surgery Group
A woman suffering from jaw pain after a car accident!
Experiencing a car accident can be a scary situation and can result in major injuries. Even if you haven't been in a serious accident, and feel fine, you might start experiencing jaw pain afterward, and this pain can be a sign of temporomandibular disorder.

What is Temporomandibular Disorder?

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) it the hinge at which your upper and lower jaws meet. This joint allows you to open and close your mouth, as well as eat and speak. Pain in your jaw, known as temporomandibular disorder (TMD), can affect your ability to do these things.

It is commonly associated with bruxism, which is a condition in which unnecessary stress is placed on your teeth and jawbone through clenching and/or grinding. It is also associated with misaligned teeth.

Even a car accident can lead to TMD. Symptoms include:

•  Facial pain.
•  Difficulty/pain when opening the mouth or chewing.
•  Clicking/popping while chewing.
•  The jaw locking open or closed.
•  Chronic headaches or earaches.

How Does a Car Accident Lead to TMD?

When you experience an auto accident, your body is subjected to movements that it is not used to. This includes your jaw. You may think that you have to suffer from a facial injury, or hit your head to experience symptoms of TMD.

While this can contribute, your head doesn't necessarily need to make contact with anything. Whiplash, which forces your body in several directions with strong forces, is enough to damage your jaw.

It can force your jaw temporarily out of place, pulling on ligaments and connective tissues associated with your TMJ, possibly even tearing them. The resulting inflammation can make everyday tasks, such as eating and speaking, much more difficult and painful.

Tell Your Dentist

Many people don't make the connection between their auto accident and their jaw pain, and therefore don't tell their dentist about the accident. However, including this detail is crucial for your dentist to be able to better make a treatment plan that will be successful.

If you have recently been in an automobile accident and are now suffering from TMD symptoms, contact our office and schedule an appointment.


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Dr. Del Valle and Dr. Shahgoli offer this blog to our patients and the community. Our hope at Manhattan Maxillofacial Surgery Group is that our blog will cover the subjects that you and your family may be interested in.
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