Broken jaw or jaw fractures are known to be the third common type facial fractures occurring in humans. As the name indicates, it leads to the cracking or breaking of the bones located in the jaw area. This type of condition is generally caused due to impact in the lower part of the face.
As this is a long bone, most people get two fractures, one around the area of impact or directly on the place where the blow was inflicted, while the other is indirect fracture, affecting some other part of the jaw.
Common Causes Of Broken Jaw
Broken jaw is mostly caused due to accidental fall while playing, walking or performing any other activities. In many cases, adults who have fainted suddenly also suffer from this condition. Hitting dashboard of the car during an accident or falling from bicycle or motorbike can be other reason for this condition.
Athletes practicing different kind of contact sports can also get broken jaws. A punch or a fatal blow on the bone can also be the cause of fracture.
The severity of fracture depends on the impact made on the bone and needs to be spotted by an X-ray before being treated. Whatever be the cause, broken jaw can cause severe difficulty in opening or closing the mouth.
Symptoms Of A Broken Jaw Bone
Pain is one of the most common symptoms of a broken jaw. The pain, even in mild cases, can be excruciating. Besides pain other visible symptoms include swelling and bruising of the area along with a feeling of tenderness.
A broken jaw severely impacts the area below the ears and gives a feeling of improper teeth alignment. Some patients also get the feeling of loose teeth or missing teeth.
Another indirect symptom is bruising or swelling of the gums. In case of severe fracture, the nerve can get damaged, causing one to get a feeling of numbness in the chin or lower lip area. Most of the patients find it difficult to open their mouth.
How Do Doctors Diagnose and Treat A Broken Jaw?
To fix a broken jaw, you need to consult a doctor and get proper diagnosis for the condition. A doctor will review your symptoms to find the extent of injury. After that, he will examine the jaw length, its shape and the area of injury.
He will also check whether you can open and close the joints normally and would also examine whether there is any sort of tenderness inside the ear canal. Then he would ask for either standard X-rays or Panorex, which is a special X-ray for dental purpose.
CT scan may also be required to examine the condition. After observing the extent of injury, he would start treating the condition. The recovery period can vary from six to eight weeks, depending on the extent of injury.