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Posted on 3/10/2020 by Dr. Michael Allard
|There are numerous obvious causes for jaw pain, from grinding your teeth when you sleep to a fist blow to the jaw. When you experience pain in your jaw, it is most often due to pain in your temporomandibular joint (TMJ).
This is the hinge connecting your jaw to your skull just in front of your ears, which allows you to chew, talk, and yawn. Your TMJ can become inflamed due to stress, clenching your jaw, or arthritis, among other causes.
How Common Is Jaw Pain?Many people go through life without experiencing any substantial jaw pain, and many will only experience it after they've been in a car accident or have been the victim of similar trauma. TMJ pain is often accompanied by difficulty opening and closing your mouth and the feeling that your jaw is clicking or getting stuck. Although TMJ problems are often caused by clenching the jaw or neglected dental problems, pain in your jaw can also be due to injuries sustained in a car accident. In fact, the American Dental Association estimates that 44 to 99 percent of TMJ issues are related to trauma, with the most prevalent type of trauma being auto accidents.
Jaw Pain and Auto AccidentsAccording to the Journal of the American Dental Association, an estimated 1 in 3 people exposed to whiplash are at a higher risk of experiencing delayed jaw pain. Because many people don't have significant jaw pain immediately after a car accident, it's common that they don't associate their pain with the accident at all. Therefore, any jaw pain occurring after an auto accident, even up to a year down the road, can still be directly related to injuries from the accident.
We know the effects that auto accidents can have on your jaw, so we recommend visiting our office following one, whether you've experienced whiplash or seem to have remained unscathed. This is preferable to discovering TMJ problems further down the road, when they have worsened. If you've been in a car accident or have experienced other trauma to the neck or face, contact our office immediately.