#4 Circumstances that Cause TMD (Continued)

Acute Trauma is the third circumstance that creates inflammation with the temporomandibular joint.  Acute trauma comes in an infinite number of varieties.  For the males the history will include bar fights, 4 X 4’s falling off the pick-up truck, and all kinds of amateur and professional sports.  Females, on the other hand, frequently report incidences of spousal abuse and here in Tennessee falls from horses.  Of course, motor vehicle accidents with frontal collision of the jaw with parts of the vehicle interior is commonly seen in both sexes.  However, there is one category of acute trauma to the TMJ that deserves special mention and attention.   Motor vehicle accidents that create whip lash of the neck and secondarily overextend the lower jaw significantly is the most common type of acute TMJ injury.  Whether the whip lash is created by deployment of the emergency air bags or related to collision from a vehicle from the rear, the effect is the same.  Over extending the jaw stretches the ligaments and fibers of the joint capsule and internal structures creating damage and acute inflammation.  The subsequent chronic inflammation associated with the now misshapen and displaced internal structures of the joint can last indefinitely without treatment.

Chronic inflammation within the TMJ is the common denominator and prime cause of all the iconic disparate TMD symptoms.  Without chronic inflammation within the TMJ there would be no TMJ disease.

The next installment will begin to address the options available to decrease the inflammation within the TMJ and thus the symptoms of TMD.