Everything you need to know about a broken jaw
A broken jaw is an extremely common facial injury. In fact, the jaw (mandible) is the 10th most common broken bone in the body. Of all the bones in the body, only the nose is broken more often than the jaw.
A fracture of the jaw is generally the result of a direct, blunt force trauma to the face.
In many cases the injury is complicated by associated damage to the teeth or mouth, and in nearly half of all cases of fractured jaw, the jaw is fractured in two places, once at the point of impact, and once higher up on the jaw, where the bone is thinnest.
At DentArana we know that a broken jaw can be painful and confusing, so we’d like to share some information that may help you understand and react better to a potentially broken jaw.
Symptoms of a broken jaw
Symptoms of a broken jaw are varied and include: pain or tenderness that worsens when chewing; facial bruising, bleeding, or swelling; Jaw stiffness or difficulty opening or closing the mouth; loose teeth; and numbness of the lips or face. However, the only way to be sure if a jaw is broken is to have a doctor perform a complete physical examination with diagnostic imaging (such as x-rays or CT scans).
What to do before emergency help is available
A person with a suspected broken jaw must seek immediate medical evaluation and treatment. On the way to the emergency room, the jaw can be manually held in place to help reduce pain caused by movement; alternatively, it can be bandaged with a cloth (tie, belt, handkerchief) that wraps around the jaw and head.
However, the bandage must allow the easy breathing and should be removable in case the victim needs to vomit. Ice or a cold pack can be applied outside of the injured area to deal with pain and swelling.
Do not apply ice directly to the skin.
Medical care for a broken jaw
Medical care should only be given by a doctor. When you see the doctor, they may ask about your medical history, conduct an exam, and recommend X-rays or a CT scan.
The physical examination inspects the face for obvious abnormalities, bruising, or swelling. The doctor will also check the movement of the jawbone or mandible.
You will be asked to bite down to assess your teeth’s alignment.
Once the doctor has determined the severity of your case, the following steps may be taken:
- Jaw wiring may be placed to keep your jaw in place and immobile, if the fracture is not complicated.
- Surgery may be needed to return the jawbone to its original position in complicated cases. Plates, pins, and screws may be used to fix the jawbone together. Surgery may also be needed to correct deformities or other issues related to the broken jaw.
- Pain medicines may be provided or recommended.
- Antibiotics may be given in case of open wounds.
Dealing with your broken jaw
Get your supplies
As you might guess, you won’t be doing much chewing during your recovery. This limits how and what you eat. This is why you will need a quality blender and/or a magic bullet, and thick straws. Basically, you’ll be doing a lot of drinking.
Eat right. Liquid nutrition drinks are a good choice, but they don’t have to be the only part of your diet.
Other possibilities include:
- Smoothies—Smoothies have infinite variety, and you can experiment with your own recipes. To ensure proper nutrition, supplement your smoothies with calcium, veggies, vitamins, protein powder, and any other needed supplements.
- Solid foods that can be blended down.
You aren’t limited to the choices above as there are cookbooks and websites that deal with blended meals.
In addition to these tips, follow expert recommendations from DentArana. We provide top-notch treatment for broken jaws and holistic care to help you not only heal but also regain maximum function of your jaw.
Consider a mouthguard, now
Nothing can completely protect your teeth, jaws, and mouth, but a custom-made mouthguard from DentArana can provide additional protection. Imperative during any form of contact sport, a properly fitting mouthguard can prevent broken teeth as well as injuries to the lips, tongue, face or jaw. Give us a call if you or a loved one is an athlete!
More about mouthguards at DentArana
DentArana is your partner in health
DentArana provides Family Dentistry in Arana Hills. At DentArana we want you and your family to maintain a beautiful, healthy smile, for life. Our goal is to make quality dental care affordable, and help you achieve maximum oral and overall health! DentArana can help you with all your dental needs, from clean and scales to bridges and dentures.
We are conveniently located in Brisbane’s western suburbs and offer late and Saturday hours!
New Patients Specials
- Pay No Gap: NO GAP for Exam, Clean and Scale (with any health insurance) for under 17
No gap Mouthguards or $99 if no health fund.
- No Health Insurance: Only $99 for Exam, Clean and Scale (under 17’s)
Call (07) 3351 3366 or visit us at Shop 5 Patricks Place, Corner Dawson Parade and Patricks Road in Arana Hills.