Car Accident Trauma’s Impact on the TMJ

One of the most common causes of TMJ disorder is trauma to the joint. Large-scale trauma such as car accidents are major contributors to trauma-induced TMJ disorder cases. In 2020, there were 35,766 crashes involving 54,272 motor vehicles. Because of the gravity of the number of crashes, understanding how one could affect your life could help prepare you for the worst.

Complexity of the Joint

The TMJ is the most complex joint in the body. Not only does it rely on a wide range of motion, but it’s also one of the most intricate networks of muscles and nerves in the entire body. TMJ dysfunction can affect:

  • Bones
  • Muscles
  • Nerves
  • Teeth
  • Airway

Why Is the TMJ So Susceptible to Trauma?

The temporomandibular joint is particularly vulnerable to injury because of the structure of the joint and its placement on the head. Because the joint is so delicate, even when the driver is wearing a seat belt and their airbag deploys normally, the risk to their TMJ is still significant. A collision can result in a joint alignment shift.

Another TMJ concern as it relates to a car crash is the lurching motion that follows a sudden stop. Sudden stops can cause the muscles in the neck to be hyperextended, leading to additional problems for supporting structures.

Symptoms of TMJ Disorder

Living through a car accident is a traumatic experience in and of itself. Beyond the emotional damage, a car accident can also contribute to numerous physical symptoms including:

  • Headaches and migraines
  • Malocclusion
  • Clenching and grinding teeth
  • Back, neck, and shoulder aches and pains
  • Difficulty chewing, swallowing, or breathing

TMD Management

Regardless of the severity of a car accident, few people prioritize how it will affect their jaw. Damage to the TMJ can have long-lasting effects that stick with victims long after they think they’ve recovered. Some of the best ways to manage this damage include:

  • Using moist heat to reduce inflammation
  • Avoiding foods that are sticky, chewy, tough, or overly crunchy
  • Wearing a nightguard
  • Scheduling a consultation with a neuromuscular dentistry specialist for advanced treatment plans and improved results

Neuromuscular Dentistry in Beaufort, SC

Dr. Wallace is one of the most renowned neuromuscular dentists in the field. Her experience treating patients with TMD is unparalleled, which has allowed her patients to experience true relief often when other professionals were not able to help. Call (843) 410-0345 or visit our contact page here to schedule a consultation.

Request an Appointment

Fill out the form below, and we will be in touch shortly.

Welcome to

Palmetto Smiles of Beaufort