Florida trial lawyer, Guy S. DiMartino, DC, JD talks about TMJ injuries after Florida car, truck and motorcycle accidents.
The temporo-mandibular joint (“TMJ”) is commonly injured in car accidents. The TMJ is where the temporal bone and mandible (lower jaw joint) come together just in front of the ear. The joint has an articular (cartilage) disc between the two bones. The joint also has a number of ligaments. The muscles of mastication open and close the joint and allow chewing.
How is the TMJ Injured?
Generally, there are two mechanisms of injury: (1) direct; and (2) indirect. A direct injury happens when the jaw hits an object in the vehicle (windshield, side window, steering wheel or dash board). An indirect TMJ injury happens with whiplash forces. For instance, if the head and neck is violently thrown back and forth in the accident these forces can injure the TMJ.
Types of TMJ Injuries
Direct blows can break the mandible, temporal or maxilla bones. Trauma can also injure the articular disc within the joints, ligaments, tendons or muscles.
Symptoms of a TMJ Injury
Injury to the TMJ can cause a lot of symptoms like:
- Pain in the jaw
- Crepitus (popping and clicking in the jaw)
- Locking of the jaw in an open or closed position
- Difficulty chewing
Injury to the TMJ can be debilitating. Women are affected more often than men. The key to getting over TMJ injury is timely diagnosis and treatment. If a TMJ injury goes undiagnosed, the a person experience permanent pain and dysfunction. Finally, a lot of insurance adjusters are suspicious of TMJ injuries because they do not how an accident without direct injury to the bones of the jaw can cause TMJ. Because of this lack of knowledge, insurance companies undervalue and do not like to compensate folks who suffer TMJ injury in accidents. Because of this bias, it is important to hire a lawyer who understands the nature and extent of TMJ injuries and can be a strong advocate for the client.
If you have any questions about a Florida car, truck or motorcycle accident or TMJ injury, contact Dr. Guy S. DiMartino, DC, JD at (352) 267-9168 or fill out the Internet consultation form on the right.
Photo Attributed to: Anatomist90