What a disaster! Despite yourself, you have just fractured your jaw. Ouch! That hurts.
Now all you want is for a specialist to treat your problem. But you don’t know anything about this type of fracture and how it is treated.
Not to worry, the maxillofacial surgeons at Clinique MFML are here for you. In this article, we explain how to treat a fractured jaw.
Fractured jaw: an overview
“Fractured jaw” is a commonly used term to describe a fracture of the lower jaw, also known as the mandible.
A fracture of the upper jaw – the maxilla – is sometimes also considered a fractured jaw. However, in the proper medical sense, a fracture of the maxilla is more commonly referred to as a facial fracture.
Various physical traumas can lead to a fractured jaw: a punch or a stick, a fall, a car accident, etc.
Fractured jaw symptoms
A fractured jaw is typically painful. In most cases, it also causes swelling in the cheeks.
A person who suffers this facial trauma may feel that their teeth are no longer properly aligned. They may also have difficulty fully opening their mouth. In some cases, a lateral deviation when opening or closing the mouth may also be observed.
A fractured jaw often causes malocclusion and facial deformity when it occurs alongside other facial fractures.
Other symptoms, such as numbness of the lower lip, may also occur depending on the type of fracture and its location.
Diagnosing a fractured jaw
In addition to the clinical examination, panoramic dental radiography is taken to confirm the diagnosis of a fractured jaw.
Occasionally, the use of a CT scanner – a 3-dimensional X-ray – may also be required to diagnose fractures of the jaw and face.
Fractured jaw treatment
In the majority of cases, surgery is required to adequately treat a mandibular fracture. This is essential to restore good chewing function, tooth alignment and bone contour.
The fracture has to be stabilized and immobilized for the bone to heal properly. There are different techniques available to stabilize fractures. The most common technique involves the use of plates and screws in the bone.
In certain cases, the fracture can be immobilized by “jaw wiring”, where the two jaws are fixed together to prevent bone and jaw movement. These procedures are performed in a hospital by one of our surgeons under general anesthesia.
Once treatment is complete, jaw strengthening exercises should be performed by the patient.
Surgery in the maxilla is recommended when the teeth are no longer properly aligned or if there is a facial deformity. The latter occurs when the fracture of the maxilla occurs alongside other fractures of the facial complex.
The surgical approach is relatively similar to that of the mandible – the bones are secured in place with plates and screws. This is also done in a hospital setting under general anaesthesia.
Fractured jaw: instantly fractured, promptly treated
If you believe you have suffered a fractured jaw, consult a doctor immediately. The sooner your problem is managed, the sooner you will recover. After all, your health and well-being depends on it.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this overview.
We look forward to seeing you again in a future article!