The face can suffer a variety of injuries in a severe car crash because the force of the crash will often send the face crashing into the steering wheel, dashboard or airbag. Through my years as Kirkland personal injury lawyer and Bellevue injury attorney I have helped car crash victims suffering from not only facial bruises and lacerations, but broken noses and even long term jaw injuries.
Temporomandibular Disorders or TMD is a jaw injury which affects hundreds of thousands of people in the United States. This injury is to the joint in the jaw also known as the temporomandibular joint or TMJ. This joint gives us our ability to move our jaw up and down and side to side enabling us to chew, speak and yawn. TMJ connects the lower jaw (mandible) to the temporal bone in the skull. With TMD the jaw, muscles and jaw joint are injured making it painful for victims to chew, and speak and even restricts their ability to open their mouth.
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Though TMD is not thoroughly understood, it is widely believed that stress from grinding of teeth and clenching the jaw can cause the disorder and trauma and injuries such as suffered in auto accidents can also lead to TMD problems. TMD causes a number of uncomfortable symptoms such as; headaches, toothaches, pain in the jaw, face, shoulders and neck, difficulty opening the mouth, clicking or popping in the joint, swelling of the face and can even lead the jaw to be stuck closed or opened for an extended period of time.
TMD has a few treatments depending upon the severity of the case. Most sufferers do not seek treatment and simply avoid things that irritate their jaw such as chewing gum and stiff foods. For those with troublesome cases a dentist or doctor may make them a mouth guard to relieve pressure and prevent grinding and clenching at night. Surgery is also an option for more difficult cases.