The jaw is known to move out of position i.e. dislocate or break on the lower portion i.e. fracture, frequently. Either occurrence can result in immense pain and can also lead to inappropriate healing, if neglected. A broken jaw is a rather facial injury. In fact, a broken mandible is the 10th most commonly fractured bone in our body.
It occurs due to trauma or a direct force the mandible or jawbone. Men are 3 times more susceptible to endure a broken jaw than women. The commonest age group to be affected is 20 to 40 years.
Causes And Symptoms Of A Broken Jaw
Some of the common causes of broken jaw include,
- Fights / assaults
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Sports-related trauma
Common symptoms of broken jaw include:
- Cannot open the mouth wide.
- Bleeding from the mouth.
- Swelling and bruising of the face.
- Stiffness of the jaw.
- Jaw pain, which aggravates when you bite or chew.
- Loose or damaged teeth.
- Bleeding gums.
- Lump or abnormal appearance of the cheek.
- Numbness of the face, especially, the lower lip.
Try to move the jaw slightly by opening and closing your mouth. Your jaw may be broken if the bite feels off when you chew and it does not open wide enough.
Neglect and failure to treat a broken jaw can trigger infection in the jaw area and result in food and / or blood going in to your lungs.
First Aid And Treatment Options For Broken Jaw
- Do not try to re-set your mandible in to position; you may cause further damage.
- Restrict your movement of the jaw as much as possible, until you seek medical help. Wrapping a bandage around the head restricts movement.
- At home, you can apply ice packs to the face and jaw. It will help allay the pain, swelling, inflammation, and bruising to a very large extent. Place an ice pack 4 to 5 times through the day, for about 5 minutes each time for the first day.
- Avoid eating hard and chewy foods; consume only soft and liquid foods that do not exert any pressure on the broken jaw. Have plenty of juices, soups and broths. Also, ginger is very effective. Have a glass of ginger tea daily. Ginger helps allay the degree of pain and inflammation.
- Confer with your health care provider about taking analgesics and pain medicines to manage the pain better; he will also instruct you to eat a soft or fluid diet for about 10 days.
- Your health care provider will also give you a tetanus shot.
- Fractures need further assessment. Most fractures are associated with tissue damage and gum problems and should be considered open fractures; they will be managed accordingly.
- Your doctor may also prescribe antibiotics, either as a preventive of infection, or in case he suspects one.
- By and large, mandible fractures are stable, and the only necessary treatment is wiring the upper and lower teeth together. This will most commonly be performed by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.
- Unstable fractures need surgical intervention. Surgical techniques using plates across the fracture site may permit you to have normal movement of the jaw and also to eat soon after the surgery; nonetheless, you need to take all the medications properly and go for the follow-ups.