I have been experiencing popping of the jaw when I open my mouth and sore gums since I had a car accident eight years ago. Please help.

Q. What to do if there is a popping of jaw when opening the mouth after a car accident?

Answered by
Dr. Honey Nandwani
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on May 30, 2023

Hello doctor,

I suffered a car accident that occurred eight days ago. I was rear-ended on the freeway, and the impact caused my head to hit the steering wheel. Although I do not recall the exact details of the event, I have noticed a bruise and soreness on my head, indicating that it likely occurred. If bruising of the gums is a plausible consequence of such an incident, it might explain the current discomfort. During the incident, I experienced severe whiplash and a concussion as a result of my head hitting the steering wheel. I also underwent X-rays of my neck as part of the diagnostic process. Since the accident, my jaw has been popping whenever I open my mouth. It has been persistent since the accident. Additionally, I observed tonight that the gums above my top set of teeth are slightly sore and appear to be purple in color. I am wondering if my gums could be bruised due to the impact of the accident. There are no significant pre-existing conditions that are relevant to this situation and I am currently taking Hydrocodone, Tramadol, and Lo Loestrin Fe.

I would like to know if the symptoms I described, specifically the popping jaw and the sore, purple gums, could be related to the car accident. Please provide your insights.



Welcome to icliniq.com. I read your query and understood your concern.

Based on your description, I would like to inform you that the popping sensation in your jaw is likely an indication of an injury to your jaw joint during the accident, which may have resulted in dislocation or damage to the soft ligament between the two bony ends of the jaw joint. Additionally, the bruising of your gums is a result of a traumatic injury to the soft tissues, causing small blood vessels to tear and leading to the accumulation of blood under the gums. However, there is no need to worry as this bruising will gradually fade away over time.

I suggest you consult an oral surgeon for a thorough clinical evaluation and investigation, such as a panoramic X-ray, to accurately identify and address the specific issue associated with your jaw joint. In the meantime, you can take pain relievers like Ibuprofen (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug) and Chlorzoxazone (muscle relaxant) to alleviate discomfort. Applying alternate warm and cool compresses over the gums can provide relief as well. I also suggest you consume a soft diet and avoid excessive mouth opening until you receive further evaluation and guidance from the oral surgeon.

I hope this has helped you. Kindly follow up if you have more doubts.

Thank you.

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