The jaw plays a pivotal role in breathing, eating and speaking. Unfortunately, any form of jaw pain can inhibit these critical functions.
Chronic jaw pain can result from many conditions: teeth-grinding, TMJ, periodontal disease, and some kinds of sinus issues.
However, pain can also be caused by a fractured jaw, and this can be a severe problem indeed.
At Alex Bratic Dental Care we not only take care of your teeth, but we can also take care of your jaw.
Causes of a broken jaw
Your jaw is constructed of two bones that work in concert: the upper jaw, or the maxillary; and the lower jaw, or the mandible. The mandible is responsible for most of the mechanical chores of your mouth, such as opening and closing them, and also chewing your food.
A cracked or broken bone is called a fracture, and fractures of the jaw are surprisingly common. According to Harvard Health Publications, a broken jaw is the third-most common facial fracture behind broken noses and cheekbones.
While jaws can be broken in many ways, some very common traumas lead to fractured jaws:
- Automobile accidents ins which passengers hit the dashboard
- Industrial accidents
- An impact from contact sports like football or hockey
- Tripping and falling when your hands are unable to break your fall
Symptoms of a broken jaw
Broken jaws usually result from trauma, and of course, pain in the region is the most common symptom. However, other problems can cause pain in the jaw, so here are some other signs to look for.
- Inability to close your mouth or uncontrolled drooling
- A numb bottom lip or chin (due to nerve damage)
- Bruising under your tongue or cut in the ear canal or (due to a broken jaw bone moving)
- Displaced jaw
- Difficulty speaking or chewing
- Inability to open your jaw completely
- Newly misaligned teeth
What to do if you think your jaw is broken or dislocated
Either a dislocated or broken jaw calls for immediate medical attention. Call emergency services and hold the jaw in place with your hands while waiting for care. An alternate stabilisation technique is to wrap a bandage (tie, belt, or towel) under the jaw and over the top of the head.
Do not attempt to correct the position of the jaw by yourself; only a professional can repair the injury. Also, make sure that the bandage can be easily removed in case of vomiting.
In case of bleeding, allow the victim to spit out the blood, to avoid choking.
If there is swelling, apply cold compresses outside the area of the injury.
Broken jaw treatment and surgery
Patients with jaw fractures need immediate care. For stable (simple) fractures, oral surgeons often wire the upper and lower teeth. This prevents the jaws from moving and promotes proper healing.
In the case of unstable or completely broken jaws, surgery is necessary. This can include insertion of plates or perforated bars, with screws securing the plates to the jawbone.
If there is gum or tissue injury antibiotics are prescribed to protect our patient from infection.
Aftercare – You’ll probably need a blender!
Unfortunately, you won’t be doing a lot of chewing during your recovery period. That limits how you feed and the kind of food you eat. Which is why your prized possessions, for the time being, will be a quality blender and/or a magic bullet, and thicker straws (you may also want to get a straw holder). You understand the idea; you’ll be doing a lot of drinking.
Eat right. Liquid health foods like Ensure can be a huge part of your diet, but won’t be the only component. Other foods that should be part of your diet include:
Soups & Smoothies. You can prepare many soups and smoothies, and even try out your own recipes. To replace nutrients from more chewy foods, spice up your soups and smoothies with liquid calcium, veggies, and protein powder.
Cream of wheat or similar soft cereal. Basically, anything creamy and without chewing is an option.
Use your imagination. Anything that can be cooked soft or tossed into a blender is an option. There are several cookbooks and online sites that list creative soft meals.
In addition to this advice, make sure to follow any recommendations we give you at Alex Bratic Dental Care. We provide top-notch jaw treatment and complete care to help you heal but and regain full jaw function.
Comfort, Convenience, and Excellent Care at Alex Bratic Dental Care
Alex Bratic Dental Care in Beenleigh delivers the very best in dental services to patients of all ages. If you, your child, or a family member needs a smile fix or just a checkup, we’re here for you!
Alex Bratic Dental Care is located on City Road near the Pacific Motorway near Beenleigh Station, with convenient public transport nearby and free onsite parking.
Call (07) 3287 2627 or visit us at 113 City Road in Beenleigh.