A disorder with the temporomandibular joint, or the hinge that links the jaw to the rest of the skull, usually comes about as a result of jaw degeneration or arthritis. However, many car accident victims in Indiana and across the U.S. have suffered a TMJ disorder as well.
For example, everyone knows that a rear-end collision can cause whiplash, where the neck snaps back and forth and strains or tears the muscles and ligaments found there. The same forces that do this to the neck can also engender a TMJ injury by pushing the jaw open and putting tremendous pressure on the joints. Other times, crash victims may injure the TMJ through contact with their dashboard, steering wheel or the airbag.
Symptoms of TMJ disorder to look out for
TMJ disorders will cause pain whenever victims speak or open their mouth wide. They may hear a popping or grating noise in the jaw, and the jaw may lock up on occasion. Pain can spread through the jaw and face to the neck and shoulders. Earaches, dizziness and even hearing loss are possible, too.
Victims may initially think their neck and shoulder pain indicates whiplash, but they will want a doctor to diagnose their condition. Dentists can easily diagnose a TMJ disorder, too. Treatment methods include wearing mouthguards, having orthodontic work done and taking anti-inflammatory drugs.
Attorney to give your case personal attention
Like many victims of motor vehicle accidents, you’re wondering if you can be reimbursed for your losses. In Indiana, plaintiffs must be less than 51% at fault to be eligible for compensation. Of course, negotiating for a reasonable settlement, hopefully out of court, is another matter and may require legal assistance. An attorney may prepare your case with the help of investigators and other third parties while you strive for a full physical recovery.