VA Disability Rating for TMJ

If you’re a veteran suffering from temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJ, due to your military service, you may qualify for a VA disability rating for TMJ. The Department of Veterans Affairs recognizes the impact of TMJ disorders on veterans’ lives and offers disability compensation to those who meet the eligibility criteria.

Key Takeaways
  • TMJ, a condition affecting jaw movement and causing pain, can be linked to physical injuries, traumatic events, stress, and arthritis from military service.
  • The VA rates TMJ based on the range of jaw movement and dietary restrictions, with ratings ranging from 10% to 50%.
  • Secondary service connections for TMJ may be established if TMJ is caused or aggravated by service-connected PTSD or bruxism.
  • Evidence for a VA disability claim for TMJ includes medical records, service injury documentation, and potentially a C&P exam to assess the condition’s severity.

To be eligible for a VA disability rating for TMJ, you must establish a connection between your condition and military service, whether directly connected or secondary to another service-connected condition. Learn more about the TMJ VA rating, whether you qualify for benefits, and how Veterans Guide can help you pursue the benefits you deserve.

What Is TMJ?

Temporomandibular joint disorder is a group of conditions affecting the jaw joint and the muscles responsible for jaw movement. The temporomandibular joint connects the lower jaw, or mandible, to the skull, allowing smooth and painless movement during speaking, chewing, and yawning. Common symptoms of TMJ disorders include:

TMJ disorders can significantly impact a person’s quality of life, causing chronic pain, difficulty eating, and even sleep disturbances. Seeking treatment and support, including VA disability benefits, can help veterans manage their symptoms and improve their overall well-being.

How Can Military Service Lead to TMJ?

Military service can lead to the development of TMJ disorders through various means, including:

In addition to these direct causes, TMJ disorders can also develop as a secondary condition to other service-connected disabilities, such as post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injuries.

How Does the VA Rate TMJ?

The VA disability rating for TMJ disorders is provided by 38 CFR § 4.150, Diagnostic Code 9905. When evaluating TMJ, the VA rates the condition based on the limited motion of the temporomandibular articulation. The rating criteria are as follows:

To determine your VA rating for TMJ, the VA will review your medical evidence, including any results of a compensation and pension exam, or C&P, to assess the severity of your condition. It’s important to provide comprehensive and up-to-date medical records to ensure that the VA has a clear understanding of the extent of your TMJ disorder and its impact on your daily functioning.

Want to Increase Your VA Rating?

TMJ Secondary Service Connection

In some cases, TMJ disorders can be caused or aggravated by other service-connected conditions. When this occurs, veterans may be eligible for secondary service connection. The two most common conditions related to TMJ are post-traumatic stress disorder and bruxism.

TMJ Secondary to PTSD

PTSD can cause individuals to grind their teeth or clench their jaw, leading to TMJ disorders. To establish a secondary service connection for TMJ due to PTSD, you must meet all the following criteria:

  1. Have a current diagnosis of TMJ disorder
  2. Have service-connected PTSD
  3. Provide medical evidence showing that your PTSD caused or aggravated your TMJ disorder

TMJ Secondary to Bruxism

Bruxism, or teeth grinding, can put excessive strain on the TMJ and surrounding muscles, leading to TMJ disorders. To establish a secondary service connection for TMJ due to bruxism, you must meet all the following criteria:

  1. Have a current diagnosis of TMJ disorder
  2. Prove that you have a service-connected disability that directly causes bruxism, such as anxiety or PTSD
  3. Provide medical evidence showing that your bruxism caused or aggravated your TMJ disorder

Establishing a secondary service connection for TMJ due to PTSD or bruxism can be challenging, as it requires clear medical evidence demonstrating the link between the conditions. Working with a knowledgeable VA disability attorney or veterans advocate can help you gather the necessary evidence and present a strong case.

How To Obtain VA Disability for TMJ

To obtain VA disability for TMJ, you must submit a claim online or fill out a VA Form 21-526EZ and either mail it or bring it to the VA along with your supporting evidence. Relevant evidence may include:

Gathering and organizing this evidence can be complex and time-consuming. However, it is essential to establish a strong VA disability claim and increase your chances of receiving the benefits you deserve.

C&P Exam for TMJ

The VA may request a C&P exam to assess the severity of your TMJ disorder. During this exam, a VA-approved medical professional will do the following:

It’s crucial to attend your C&P exam and provide the examiner with a clear and accurate description of your symptoms and their impact on your life. If you have any additional medical records or evidence that you believe is relevant to your claim, bring them to the exam.

If the VA denies your initial claim for VA disability for TMJ or you receive a lower rating than expected, you can appeal the decision. Additionally, if your TMJ disorder worsens over time, you can file for an increased rating.

Contact Veterans Guide for assistance with increasing or appealing your VA disability rating for TMJ. Our experienced team can help you navigate the claims process, gather the necessary evidence, and maximize your chances of success.

By understanding the VA rating criteria, secondary service connections, and the evidence required to support your claim, you can increase your chances of obtaining the compensation you deserve. If you need assistance with your VA disability claim for TMJ, don’t hesitate to contact Veterans Guide for guidance and support.

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