If you fracture your jaw you will damage the way your teeth fit together. You will not be able to open your mouth wide and your jaw will shift to one side when you open or close your mouth. Most fractures occur in your lower jaw, known as mandible.
Only the lower jaw bone moves. The two parts of the jaw bone are connected to the skull by a joint in front of the ears (temporomandibular joint). Strong muscles run from the jaw to the skull.
The jaw bone is the second most commonly broken bone after the nose. It is the largest bone in the lower part of the face.
Fractures of your upper jaw (maxilla) can have serious consequences. You may experience double vision as muscles of your eye attach nearby. It may cause numbness in your skin below the eye and irregulation in your cheekbone.
A force that is strong enough to fracture your jaw may also injury your spine at the neck. You could suffer concussion or bleeding within your skull. Fractures to your jaw can also cause internal bleeding and/or airway obstruction. If you suspect that you have fractured your jaw, you need to hold your jaw in place, either with your hands or a bandage until you receive medical help.
Before you receive any treatment you will most likely have an x-ray done to rule out spinal damage. The treatment that you will receive is your upper and lower jaws will be wired together and remain wired for up to six weeks to allow the bones to heal correctly. During this six week period you will only be able to drink liquids through a straw. However many fractures can be repaired surgically by inserting a plate (a piece of metal is screwed into the bone on each side of the fracture). In this case you are only immobilised for a few days.
When is comes to unwiring your upper and lower jaws it can hurt with a pain that resembles having a brace taken off. It takes about an hour to unwire as the wires have to be cut and the bands pulled off. You won’ be able to open your mouth very wide for about the first week but this soon get better as long as you don’t over do it. You should be able to eat normally after about two months but you will experience soreness when you visit the dentist for a while after. You should make sure you visit your dentist after having your jaws unwired so that they can clean your teeth and measure your bite as well as examining your mouth alignment.
There several factors that can be the cause of a fracture to your jaw, such as:
• Falling from height
• Road traffic accidents
• A blow to the face
• Sports injury
The healing time for a jaw fracture can take up to several months meaning if you were involved in an accident that resulted in your jaw being fractured you could be out of work for a long time whilst it heals. By being out of work you are losing money, making your everyday expenses hard to cover.
If you are suffering as a result of a fractured jaw you could be entitled to compensation. After you have received medical treatment you should get in touch with a personal injury solicitor and find out about claiming compensation today.
Helen Cox is the web master of Accident Consult; specialists in accidents resulting in Injury to your Jaw.