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Why post-accident TMJ is more common than you think

On Behalf of | Jun 23, 2023 | Car Accidents |

No matter how hard you try to avoid them, sometimes getting in a car accident in Minnesota is sometimes unavoidable. As you know, vehicle collisions often cause injuries. However, you might be unaware that they can also be responsible for temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders, commonly referred to as TMJ.

What is TMJ?

The sudden impact of car accidents often causes those involved to whip their necks forward. As your neck jerks forward, it can cause whiplash. With the neck so close to your jaw, it’s not uncommon for whiplash to place additional stress on your temporomandibular joint. Your jaw doesn’t even need to collide with a surface for TMJ to develop.

Signs you have TMJ

You often won’t feel the full pain of post-accident injuries until hours or days after this stressful event. In some cases, ailments like TMJ can, and often do, take months to develop after a motor vehicle crash. The main sign of TMJ is feeling pain throughout your jaw. This pain sometimes extends to the nerves connected to your teeth, causing toothaches. Many TMJ sufferers also deal with limited mobility in their jaws. Another sign of TMJ is that your jaw makes a clicking noise, especially as you open your mouth.

Treating TMJ

While TMJ isn’t life-threatening, many people understandably don’t want to live with the pain this condition causes. One of the most effective ways of treating TMJ is to wear a mouthguard. A mouthguard can offset the jaw position causing pain while preventing enamel-damaging teeth grinding. If you believe you’re dealing with post-accident TMJ, scheduling an appointment with your dentist or a TMJ specialist could be a smart move.