Treating a Fractured and Broken Jaw
Posted on 1/25/2021 by Malmquist Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
|Sometimes, we need to help patients who have fractured their jaw. The following information explains the process we use.
Treating Jaw Injuries
An injury to a jaw can be serious, as the jaw helps you speak, chew, and breathe. Chronic jaw pain may result from various conditions, such as TMJ, periodontal disease, and teeth grinding and clenching. It may also result when you have fractured your jaw and do not know it.
Reasons for a Broken Jaw
The jaw is made up of 2 cooperative bones, or the maxilla and mandible - the upper and lower jaws. The lower jaw, or mandible, is used for opening and closing the mouth and for chewing. When the jawbone breaks or cracks, it is considered fractured. Harvard Health Publications states that broken jaws represent the third most common facial injury, behind the nose and cheekbones. Breaks to the jawbone frequently occur from trauma or when the injury is sustained as the result of an auto incident (hitting the dashboard), an industrial accident, or sports contact.
The Differences Between a Dislocation and Fracture
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a dislocation of the jaw occurs when the lower jaw or mandible shifts out of its usual alignment at one or both of the temporomandibular joints, or where the jaw connects with the skull. Sometimes, it is not easy to discern the difference between a fracture and dislocated jaw. When a jaw is broken, you may experience facial swelling, bruising, or numbness or your jaw may feel tender or stiff. The pain will also worsen if you bite or chew. The mouth may bleed, or you may have loose teeth. If the jaw is dislocated, you may have problems with speaking or closing your mouth. The jaw may protrude, or the bite may feel off as well. While a broken jaw may need to be wired, a dislocation may require resetting the jaw.
If you have a jaw fracture or break, address the injury immediately so the jaw can be stabilized. Should you have a clean break, the jaw may be able to heal on its own. Even if you believe your break is clean, give us a call anyway. Any jaw pain, fracture, or dislocation is considered an emergency.