Jaw Pain After a Car Crash – What You Need To Know

image of young woman holding her jaw in painAfter being involved in a car accident, injured victims may complain about neck, back or head pain. Jaw pain after a car crash is another common, but less-talked about injury.

This article discusses the causes and symptoms of jaw pain after a car accident and what steps you should take to alleviate your pain and protect an injury claim.

Do you have jaw pain or TMJ disorder after a car crash caused by another driver? If so, our lawyers at Anderson & Cummings may be able to help. We have been advocating for injured car accident victims in Fort Worth and throughout Texas for decades. During that time, we have recovered millions in compensation. Call our law offices for a free initial consultation. We are prepared to answer your legal questions, and there is no risk to you.

Request your FREE case review today. (817) 920-9000

What Could Cause Jaw Pain After a Car Crash?

There are many ways people can injure their jaws in a collision.

Initial Crash Impact

The initial impact of a crash often causes the victim’s neck to be violently jerked back and forth, causing a painful whiplash injury. In addition to mild to severe neck injuries, crash victims may injure muscles or ligaments in their jaws.

Direct Impact

A direct impact to the face or jaw during a car crash could cause severe bruising, swelling or fractures to the face and jaw. A car crash can damage the nerves that control sensations in your jaw and face, ultimately causing pain, numbness or tingling.

Tensing Jaw Muscles in Anticipation of the Crash

When crash victims anticipate the impact of a car crash, they may clench their jaws or teeth together, which can lead to other injuries and complications, including:

  • Teeth grinding, which can lead to muscle tension and jaw pain
  • Chip, dislodge or knock out teeth, which can misalign the teeth and jaw
  • Cause temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)

Could a Crash Cause TMJ Disorder?

There are two temporomandibular joints that connect the jawbone to the skull. These complex joints function as a hinge that allows your jaw to move. Simple actions the jaw is responsible for include talking, chewing, eating, laughing, smiling and singing. If the crash injured your jaw, misaligned your jaw, or is otherwise preventing your jaw joints from working together properly, you may have TMJ disorder.

TMJ disorder may show up in many different ways, such as:

Myofascial Pain and Swelling

Myofascial tissue is the connective soft tissue that covers your muscles. In a TMJ injury, you may feel myofascial pain in the area surrounding your jaw and other connected areas, such as your neck and shoulders.

Internal Joint Derangement (Joint Dysfunction)

This term describes an injury to the joint that prevents your jaw from functioning normally or without pain. The resulting pain could be due to a ligament tear, cartilage damage or some other internal injury.

Degenerative Joint Disease

Although not likely to be an immediate injury from a crash, the damage you sustain could result in post-traumatic arthritis to the jaw joint.

Symptoms That May Indicate TMJ Dysfunction

If you have jaw pain accompanied by some or all of these symptoms, you may have a TMJ disorder, also called TMD, or temporomandibular disorder.
Symptoms of TMD or TMJ disorder may include:

  • Jaw pain
  • Facial pain or tenderness that spreads behind the eyes or to the face, shoulder, neck and back
  • Difficulty or discomfort while chewing
  • Clicking or popping when moving the jaw
  • Jaw locking up
  • Muscle stiffness or fatigue
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Facial swelling
  • Limited range of motion
  • Tinnitus or ear ringing
  • Numbness or tingling in your fingers
  • Being unable to comfortably close your teeth together as they no longer align properly
  • Sensitivity in teeth

What If I Have Ear Pain?

If you are experiencing ear pain along with any of the other symptoms mentioned above, it could be related to TMJ dysfunction. Your ears are closely located to your temporomandibular joints and share nerve pathways.

Common ear symptoms associated with TMJ dysfunction include pressure or ringing in the ears, or even dizziness or vertigo. Although ear pain may accompany TMJ dysfunction, it is important to remember that other common factors could cause the same symptoms, such as ear infections, wax buildup or impact from another object.

The best way to determine if your ear pain is related to TMJ dysfunction is to make an appointment with your physician and get a full evaluation.

What Can I Do For Jaw Pain or TMJ Disorder After a Crash?

The first step is to find out what is causing your jaw pain or potential TMJ disorder. The only way to know for sure is to see a doctor and undergo X-rays and other advanced imaging technology of your jaw structure. You may also need to see a TMJ dentist to find out if you sustained any damage to your teeth, jaw or temporomandibular joints. Once your physician and dentist examine and diagnose you, they can recommend treatment.

If you sprained your jaw, you may only need over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen, rest, ice and physical therapy. If you broke or dislocated your jaw in the crash, you may need surgery to repair the damage. TMJ treatments may include the use of mouth guards to help prevent teeth grinding and clenching your jaw together. Your dentist may also recommend physical therapy. Other non-surgical treatments for TMJ may include trigger point injections, physical therapy, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS units applied to the area) and ultrasound therapy.

Sometimes, a TMJ disorder may need surgery, such as a TMJ arthroscopy to remove scar tissue or reposition a displaced disk. TMJ specialists may include otolaryngologists, orthodontists, prosthodontists and oral surgeons.

Having Jaw Pain After a Crash You Did Not Cause? Call Our Law Firm Today

If you injured your jaw or suffered other damages because of another driver’s negligence, it is vital that you first protect your health. Once your injuries have been stabilized, however, we strongly recommend you seek legal help. Treatment for your jaw injuries, especially if you need physical therapy, surgery or orthodontic work, is extremely expensive. Our legal team works hard to recover the maximum possible compensation for your medical costs and other losses.

At Anderson & Cummings, our Fort Worth auto crash attorneys do not charge you upfront costs or fees. We have the resources, staff and knowledge to build a strong case and guide you throughout the legal process. If you have a case and choose our law firm to represent you, we are prepared to work tirelessly to help you recover the compensation you deserve.

Experienced Lawyers. Proven Results. (817) 920-9000

*These are actual dollar amounts paid to clients after the deduction of attorney fees and expenses.


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