Kentucky roadways can be especially troublesome during bad weather and while driving at night. Narrow rural roadways with almost no shoulder and crowded city streets in more urban areas all add up to many car accidents every year. When driving conditions or other factors cause collisions, many accident victims suffer especially painful injuries to their jaws that can have lasting and highly adverse effects.

TMJ injuries defined

The blunt force trauma created by a car accident can cause extensive injuries to the jaw and the temporal mandibular joints, or TMJ, that make the jaw work. Even if a passenger did not suffer a direct injury from the impact of another vehicle, the sudden deployment of one or more airbags could cause a TMJ injury. This type of injury can make it incredibly painful to do the simplest of things like talk and chew food. The injury might heal relatively quickly, or it might last for a very long time and result in a sore neck, jaw, shoulders and face. Some victims even experience dizziness and report partial hearing loss.

Symptoms are often hidden

Because a car accident can cause widely traumatic injuries, the existence of a TMJ injury is not always readily apparent. Many times, it reveals itself clearly after other injuries heal and the symptoms of a TMJ injury persist. Dentists as well as medical doctors can diagnose TMJ injuries and often are the first to make the diagnosis. Many patients see their dentists due to the jaw pain created by a TMJ injury and only learn about it when the dentist determines the actual cause.

Treatments vary in type and effectiveness

A TMJ injury often is treatable with physical therapy and surgery in extreme cases. Electrical stimulation, facial and neck massages and alternating applications of heat and ice can help to soothe the soreness and enhance healing. Reducing stress also helps to prevent tension affecting the muscles and nerves in the face, neck and jaw. An attorney experienced in personal injury law may be able to help an accident victim secure a fair settlement to cover all their medical bills.