Effective Ways to Take Care of a Jaw Fracture

Effective Ways to Take Care of a Jaw Fracture

Dec 01, 2021

Our jaws are made up of the upper jaw known as the maxillary and the lower jaw known as the mandible. The lower jaw handles the mechanics of the mouth, such as closing and opening the mouth and chewing. It is separate from the rest of the skull and is connected to the head through the temporomandibular joints.

When this jaw becomes stressed due to excessive force, it breaks or shatters. The action is known as a jaw fracture or a mandibular fracture.

When the upper jaw breaks, it is considered a facial fracture and not a jaw fracture. There are two types of jaw fractures; direct and indirect.

Direct fractures occur where the jaw is hit, while indirect ones occur when the force of the trauma moves and causes the thin part of the jawbone below the ear to snap.

A jaw fracture is caused by trauma to the face due to a motor vehicle accident, assault, industrial accident, falling, and physicality from a contact sport or recreational activity. The cause and force of trauma determine the type of fracture you or your child may have.

Symptoms Of A Jaw Fracture

  • Pain in the jaw or face when opening or closing the mouth
  • Bruising or swelling on the area
  • Numbness of the face, particularly the lower lip, due to damaged mandibular nerves
  • Loose or broken teeth
  • Speaking difficulty due to being unable to open your jaw wide
  • You may have a malocclusion (teeth do not fit together correctly)
  • Ear pain
  • Bleeding from the mouth
  • The jaw moves to one side when you open the mouth
  • A stiff jaw that is difficult and painful to move
  • Bruising under the tongue because of movement of the broken jaw

How to Take Care of a Jaw Fracture Effectively

When someone has broken a jaw, immediate medical attention from the dentist near you is required. Do not try to attend to the injury yourself, as you may cause more damage to the jaw. Instead, you should contact the emergency dentistry near you when the person has difficulty breathing due to losing support to the tongue or bleeding heavily.

As you wait for medical help, support the jaw to stabilize it and maintain an open airway. Manually hold the jaw in place or wrap a bandage under the jaw and over the top of the patient’s head to stabilize the jaw. Do not wrap the cloth too tightly. It should be easy to remove.

Once you get to the emergency dentist in South Dallas, the dentist will perform a diagnosis. First, you will be asked how you injured your jaw.

The specialist will then perform a physical examination of your jaw and face to assess the effect of the trauma. In addition, radiographs that will enable the dentist to identify the mandibular fracture best are conducted.

The type of fracture will determine the type of treatment administered. A minor fracture heals on its own with the help of pain medication. Jaw wiring is done to hold the jaw in place as the bones heal.

For severe jaw fractures, the dentist will work with a maxillofacial surgeon to return the bone to its proper position, correct deformities, and fix damaged tissues.

How to Heal a Fracture

An uncomplicated jaw fracture takes one to two months to heal after treatment. You will receive some pain medicines and be advised to eat soft foods until you recover. After surgery, the jaw may be wired to teeth of the upper jaw for 6-8 weeks. During this time, you will stay on a liquid diet.

Here are some tips from the dentist in Dallas to help you manage the fracture as the jaw heals.

  1. Use an ice compress over the area frequently to help decrease the pain and swelling.
  2. Do not put any pressure on the jaw.
  3. Only consume foods that have been blended with liquids to soften them so that you do not chew with the injured jaw.
  4. Use a soft toothbrush to clean your mouth four times every day and a water flosser to remove all food particles from the mouth.
  5. Do not get involved in activities like sports before the jaw heals.