A broken jaw is an injury that affects either one or both joints that connect the lower jaw bone and skull. Do not confuse this with a dislocation of the jaw. A dislocation is when the jaw is unhinged to the skull. Both issues, though similar, are painful and can cause difficulty while eating and breathing. You will need to seek medical attention urgently to avoid worsening the issue and start the healing process. What are the symptoms of a broken jaw, you may ask? Pain is guaranteed. The injury can lead to significant facial swelling. Chewing will become a problem and you may experience difficulty in breathing. Your jaw will become stiff. Your face and gums may feel numb, and even develop bruising on the face.
The pain may worsen upon speaking and chewing. If it is severe, you will not be able to move your jaw or you may have little ability to move it.
You can get a broken jaw over an accidental fall. This may occur when children are playing and if an adult faints. It can happen if you hit the dashboard in a car accident. You may fall off a bicycle or motorcycle. If you enjoy contact sports, you can get it when you fall or collide with someone or something or get punched on the jaw.
The jaw bone is commonly referred to as the mandible. When a great force acts upon the jaw the fracture may occur along the jaw or at the joint which is known as the Temporomandibular Joint, TMJ. The impact can also cause the thin part of the jawbone, located below the ear to snap. Your teeth also have a probability of coming out. The gums might get damaged due to piercing of the broken jaw and blood nerves and vessels may also be damaged.
You will first need to consult an oral surgeon who will review your symptoms and ask on details on the cause. They will examine your jaw to check for its alignment, the swellings, bruises, deformities and tenderness. The dentist will also check your ear canal and check for numbness in the lower lip and chin. He/she will examine the inside of your mouth to check for any alterations and abnormalities.an X-ray will be taken and a computed tomography (CT) scan if necessary.
The healing period is of about one to two months. The jaw must be manipulated to go back to its original position.
After surgery, painkillers will be administered to assist with the pain and antibiotics to prevent infection. You may need to endure taking liquid meals because chewing solid food would be quite difficult. As you recover, you may need to consider taking soft foods that require minimum chewing and that will facilitate quick recovery.
Due to unavoidable circumstances, one can easily get a broken jaw. It is best to avoid it as much as possible, but if it happens you need to take quick action to ensure the problem is taken care of before it gets out of hand.