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Can a Concussion from an Auto Accident Cause Jaw Pain?

When you are involved in a car accident, your body is subject to numerous strong forces all at the same time. Even a minor accident at a slow speed of 30 mph can create tons of force on the body.

While you may not notice some injuries immediately, other unexpected symptoms can appear over time. One area that you might notice, even after seeking whiplash or concussion treatment, is pain in the head or neck, including jaw pain and ear issues.

Keep scrolling to learn more about jaw pain after a concussion from our medical team at Impact Medical Wesley Chapel.

Why Your Jaw Might Hurt After an Accident

Jaw pain can occur if the head hits the dashboard, window, steering wheel, or another object during a car accident. Some victims also report that the trauma of an airbag can spur jaw pain and can at times lead to a TMJ injury.

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is one of the most complex joints in the body and links your jawbone to the base of your skull; sliding up and down and back and forth as needed. It is also one of the most frequently used joints in the body.

Think about how often you eat, drink, speak, smile, laugh, or yawn; this is all possible because of the temporomandibular joint.

When the jaw joint is injured or you get a concussion, you can feel pain in the jaw, face, neck, ears, and shoulders. You may also suffer from debilitating headaches.

Note: Jaw disorders caused by accident injuries often do not resolve on their own, because the jaw is in constant use, even when you are asleep. Because of this, any pain should be treated by a doctor.

What is Whiplash or Concussion-Induced TMJ?

Some car accidents result in a concussion or whiplash injury, and one-third of accident victims with these injuries are at risk for a TMJ injury. Remember, the joint and soft tissues surrounding it are very vulnerable to trauma, even in a mild accident.

The discomfort and limited mobility of a TMJ injury can have long-lasting impacts. It can affect your work, daily living activities, mouth hygiene, and mental health.

Unfortunately, TMJ injuries are often overlooked, even when a concussion or whiplash is correctly diagnosed. Sometimes, symptoms may not surface until years later. 

Symptoms of Jaw Pain to Watch For

Jaw pain is the primary symptom of whiplash or concussion induced TMJ. Since the TMJ is connected to so many other parts of the body, other symptoms can manifest as well.

It is important to be on the lookout for these signs and symptoms of injury:

  • Tenderness or pain in the face, jaw, neck, or shoulders
  • Ear pain or ringing in the ears
  • Clicking or popping sound in the jaw
  • Difficulty or pain when chewing
  • Swelling on the side of the face
  • Lockjaw or limited jaw movement
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue

You might only experience a few of these symptoms or, in some cases, all of them. If you are in a car accident and develop any of these complaints, visit our team at Impact Medical Wesley Chapel for a checkup.

What to Do if You Have Jaw Pain Following an Accident

If you experience jaw pain after an accident, there are steps that you should take to protect your health and get relief.

First, visit a doctor or go to the emergency room if you have severe pain or any difficulty moving your jaw. If you think that you have a TMJ injury, ask to be referred to a dentist or oral surgeon who specializes in TMJ conditions.

  • Avoid hard or chewy foods and eat a soft diet.
  • Try over-the-counter pain relievers, ice packs, and heat to help alleviate discomfort.
  • Avoid stressful situations as they can aggravate TMJ pain and get plenty of rest.
  • You may want to try relaxation techniques such as meditation or yoga to ease stress and tension.

Physical therapy, injections, and a mouth guard or splint can stabilize TMJ and allow it to heal. Surgery should only be considered after other measures have failed.

Relief from TMJ Pain

If you have been in a car accident and are experiencing TMJ, whiplash, or concussion pain, lean on our compassionate team at Impact Medical Wesley Chapel. We will help you heal and recover so you can get back to your daily life pain-free.

Say goodbye to TMJ pain! Call Impact Medical Wesley Chapel for an appointment today at (813) 953-1002!