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First Aid & Emergencies

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Broken Jaw Treatment

Call 911

If the person has:

  • Uncontrolled bleeding
  • Difficulty breathing
  • A possible spine injury (do not move the person)

Or if the person is:

Recommended Related to First Aid

What Drowning Really Looks Like

You're at the pool or the beach and you scan the water. You'd be able to tell if someone was drowning, right? You’ve seen it on TV and in the movies -- the person flails their arms, thrashes about wildly, and cries for help. Here’s the problem: That's not what it always looks like. "In the public's mind, someone who is drowning is waving frantically and calling for help, and that's just not the way it is," says Alan Steinman, MD, an expert on drowning and sea survival. Steinman is a former director...

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  • In shock (faint, pale, rapid shallow breathing)

1. Get Medical Help Immediately

  • Go to a hospital emergency room.

2. Prevent Choking

  • Allow any blood in the mouth to dribble out or have the person spit it into a handkerchief.
  • Without touching the roots, gently remove any broken or lost teeth from the mouth and place them in cold milk, salt water, or saliva. Take the broken teeth in their solution to the health care provider or emergency room with you.

3. Immobilize Jaw

  • Do not attempt to align the jaws.
  • Make a bandage out of a handkerchief, scarf, or necktie, and tie it around the jaw and over the top of the head to keep the jaw from moving. The bandage should be easily removable in case the person starts to vomit.

4. Control Swelling

  • Apply cold compresses.

5. Follow Up

Medical treatment depends on the location and severity of the break.

  • A surgeon may be able to set the bone without surgery although wires may need to be placed to stabilize the jaw.
  • Surgery may be needed to repair the break. The surgeon will place plates or screws to hold the broken pieces of bone together while they heal.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Scott Keller, MD on November 19, 2013

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