Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Injury
TMJ Injury Lawyer
TMJ or tempomandibular injuries are often difficult to understand, and can be even harder to identify. Speaking to an experienced TMJ injury lawyer after an accident causing injury to the TMJ can help you both understand the nature of your injury as well as ensure you receive the medical treatment necessary to make a full recovery. Call 800-298-0111 to discuss your case with a TMJ injury attorney.
What is the TMJ or Tempomandibular Joint?
TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint. The temporomandibular joint connects your jaw to the bottom of your skull. It is comprosed of connective tissue, an articular disc, and ligaments that operate to allow smooth sliding of the Condyle within the Mandibular Fossa as your jaw opens and closes. Located on either side of your face, these joints act like a sliding hinge that allow you to utilize the muscles near your mouth and move your jaw.
What is a TMJ Disorder?
A TMJ disorder is an injury to or condition affecting the tempomandibular joint. When the TMJ is injured or damaged, it can lead to severe pain in your jaw. Injuries to the TMJ often include:
- Jaw fractures
- Articular disc displacement due to collateral ligament damage
A jaw fracture, or fracture of the TMJ, is one of the most common types of bone fractures that occur on the face. Commonly the result of blunt force trauma to the face, when this injury occurs it can also result in the TMJ being damaged itself.
When suffering from a TMJ fracture, physical therapists can help victims relieve their pain and restore function to the the joint and surrounding muscles.
Articular Disc Displacement
The Articular Disc is a piece of tissue that sites between the Condyle and the Mandibular Fossa and acts as a pad or shock absorber to keep bone from grinding against bone. It is held in place by collateral ligaments at either end. During a rear-end automobile collision, the head is tossed backward and forward with great force. When the victim is unprepared for impact, this force can result in the jaw opening and slamming shut during the whiplash effect. In this type of impact, the Articular Disc may be ripped from the Condyle and displaced or left floating.
When the Articular Disc is displaced, it will slide back and forth as the jaw opens and closing, getting pinched between the bones in the TMJ joint. As force is exerted against the Articular Disc by the jaw being opened and closed it is squeezed and the ligaments often become further damaged until they wear away. The jaw can become tight and/or painful when trying to fully open it until the pulling of the collateral ligament in a rubber band-like fashion jerks the compressed Articular Disc through the space between bones. Many times a “popping” or “clicking” noise may be heard when this occurs.
Symptoms of TMJ Disorders
The most common symptom an individual is suffering from a TMJ disorder is pain in the facial muscles or the joint itself. A variety of other symptoms may be linked to TMJ disorders:
- Throbbing or stabbing pain in the face, jaw or neck
- Limited movement or locking of the jaw
- Painful clicking, popping in the jaw when moving the mouth
- Shift in position of upper or lower teeth
- Swelling on the side of the face
Headaches, toothaches and hearing problems have also been associated with TMJ disorders. If you or someone you know has experienced any of these symptoms following an accident involving the jaw, contact an experienced medical professional at your earliest convenience. If you are suffering from a TMJ disorder due to the negligence of another party, you may be entitled to legal compensation. Contact an experienced jaw injury attorney to learn more about your rights.
TMJ Risk Factors
There are many different factors that may contribute to the development of TMJ disorders, including:
- Whiplash injury
- Constant grinding or clenching of the TMJ and surrounding muscles.
- Jaw trauma
- Specific connective tissue diseases
- other injury to the collateral ligament
However, the cause of most TMJ disorders cannot be narrowed down to one factor. Consulting your dentist about your health history and to conduct a physical exam can help determine if a TMJ disorder is the cause of your joint pain.
Consult an Experienced TMJ Injury Attorney
Have your or someone you know been suffered serious jaw injuries due to the negligent conduct of another party? If so, call Simmons and Fletcher, P.C., today. Our TMJ injury lawyers have been helping personal injury victims since 1979. We understand how debilitating these kinds of injuries can be and are dedicated to providing our clients with the most comprehensive legal representation available. Call 800-298-0111 to schedule a free consultation today.