What is a fractured or a broken jaw?
A fractured jaw, also known as a mandibular fracture is a fairly common face injury. Fractured jaw is believed to be the tenth most common fracture injury in the human body and the third most common face related fracture. In most of the injuries, nose and cheekbones are broken more frequently.
How can you fracture your jaw?
Jaw fractures generally occur because of trauma or injury to the lower face. Some of the common reasons that may cause a severe fracture to the jaw are:
- A sudden and dreadful fall
- Vehicle injury/fall from bike, cycle
- Physical collision
- A punch
- Sudden hit with the dashboard of a car
Some of the common symptoms of a fractured jaw are:
- Stiffness in the jaw
- Swelling of the face
- Bruising of the face
- Mouth Bleeding
- Discomfort in opening mouth wide
- Difficulty in eating, pain and tenderness
- The Face becomes numb
- There appears to be a lump in the cheek or the jaw
- Sometimes the teeth become loose
- Misalignment of the teeth
If the jaw is broken, an X-Ray can help is determining the situation. To determine the fracture of the maxilla, a CT would be required. If there is any doubt of a damage to the spine, a neck x-ray would be required. Similarly, to determine any injury to the brain, a CT of the brain is done. An eye examination is done to rule out any damage to the eyes and the vision.
First aid and treatment
As soon as the jaw is hit traumatically, the focus should be on reducing the pain and prevent movement of the jaw. Treatment of a jaw fracture is based on keeping the jaws at rest so that the bones can heal. For this purpose, the bandaging of the jaw around the top of the head is recommended. For a normal fracture, swallowing hard things should be avoided for some days and only a soft diet should be followed along with the pain medicines.
Surgery is required in serious fractures. Due to fractures, the swelling or severe bleeding blocks the breathing passages. In that case, a doctor will open the passages by inserting an endotracheal tube so that the patient can breathe properly. Following necessary precautions during the treatment helps in faster recovery.
As far as the treatments are concerned wiring of the jaw to the opposite teeth is done, which are left in the place for 6 to 8 weeks. Elastics or rubber bands are used for the purpose of holding the teeth together, which are removed later to allow movement and reduce joint stiffness. During all this treatment one should consume only liquids or eat soft food. However, one should not forget to keep the scissors to cut the elastics or wires in the event of a choke or vomit. After several weeks of wiring, exercises are must to strengthen the jaws.
Fractured jaw is a hard medical condition to deal. One should always consult a reputed dentist with a background in repairing fractured jaws, else the jaw repairing process could take longer than usual.