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Will Recalled Airbags Increase Your Risk of Jaw Trauma?

Airbag recall

The airbag recall of defective Takata airbags has expanded from the Honda vehicles that initially made the news to include dozens of brands. When they inflate, these airbags can launch metal fragments at passengers as well as the airbag itself. The result of these metal fragment launches has been temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) after airbag inflation.

Why Airbags Are Being Recalled

The Takata airbag recall is kind of scary. Airbags are supposed to help protect us from injury in car accidents. Instead, when the defective airbags inflate, they launch metal fragments at the passenger, some of them traveling fast enough to penetrate the skull, resulting in fatal brain injuries.

The company claims that the recall is due to improper handling of propellant during the manufacture and installation of the airbags. This causes some of the launcher to break apart during deployment, so that the fragments come along with the airbag, traveling at up to 200 mph

The recall began with reports of fatalities in Honda vehicles, but since has expanded to include many brands. Check here for a complete list of recalled cars.

Airbags Always Have a Risk for TMJ Trauma

The goal of airbags is to reduce head and chest trauma due to car accidents. The airbag inflates, preventing the head from striking the steering wheel or dash. The airbag is also intended to slow down deceleration of the head in order to reduce whiplash injuries.

Airbags are very successful at preventing serious and even fatal head trauma, but when they inflate, you can literally take it on the chin. The expanding airbag can shoot outward to contact your chin directly, forcing the chin up and back and putting adverse pressure on the temporomandibular joint.

The defective airbags can potentially increase this risk by adding metal fragments that might deliver more force to the jaw. However, the increased risk of injury is more likely to involve traumatic injuries like broken jaw or knocked-out teeth.

Treating Airbag-Related TMJ and Other Injuries

We can treat damaged teeth related to the defective airbags, repairing your damaged teeth as necessary with porcelain veneers or dental crowns and replacing lost teeth with dental implants.

TMJ that develops in the weeks or months following your accident can be treated, too, reducing the headaches, jaw pain, and other symptoms.

Although this recall will hopefully eliminate the metal fragment problem in airbags, TMJ related to airbag deployment is likely to continue. If you developed TMJ in Philadelphia after being in a car accident, please call (610) 272-0828 for an appointment with a TMJ dentist at Dental Excellence of Blue Bell today.