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Oral Care

Broken Jaw

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Exams and Tests

A doctor will conduct a physical exam and order x-rays, if indicated. No blood tests are needed.

  • The physical examination would consist of a general inspection of your face for obvious deformity, bruising, or swelling. The next step would begin with feeling the jawbone through the skin.
  • The doctor will check the movement of the mandible. Once the external exam is complete, the doctor will check inside your mouth. You will be asked to bite down, and your teeth will be assessed for alignment.
  • The doctor will check the jawbone for stability. With the straight blade test, the doctor may place a tongue blade (tongue depressor, a flat wooden stick) between your teeth and evaluate whether you can hold the blade in place.
  • The best screening film is the panoramic x-ray, completely around the jaw. This type of x-ray is not often available in smaller hospitals, so other views are substituted. If the initial x-rays are negative, a CT scan may be indicated if the doctor thinks you have a broken jaw.

Broken Jaw Treatment

Self-Care at Home

 

If there is any question that you may have a broken jaw, you need to be checked by a doctor or a dentist specializing in oral surgery.

Ice should be applied to the jaw to help control the swelling on your way to be seen by the doctor. Sometimes you will need a paper cup to catch the drool or to spit blood into on the trip to the doctor or emergency department.

Medical Treatment

Many people who have jaw pain will not have a jaw fracture and will be treated with pain medications and instructions to eat a soft diet and to follow up with their doctor.

  • Those with fractures require further evaluation. Many fractures of the jawbone are associated with gum problems or tissue damage and should be considered open fractures. They will be treated with antibiotics.
  • You may receive a tetanus shot.
  • Pain will be addressed and managed effectively.
  • Many mandible fractures are stable, and the only treatment required is wiring the upper and lower teeth together. This will most commonly be performed by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.
  • More unstable fractures often require surgery. Surgical methods using plates across the fracture site may allow you to have normal motion of the mandible and to eat shortly after surgery.

How Do I Measure Up? Get the Facts Fast!

Number of Days Per Week I Floss

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Only 18.5% of Americans never floss. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Floss removes food trapped between the teeth and removes the film of bacteria that forms there before it turns to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Try flossing just one tooth to get started.

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for 3 more days!

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily, but you're well on your way to making a positive impact on your teeth and gums. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for all 7 days!

Only 50.5% of Americans floss daily, and good for you that you are one of them! Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Congratulations on your good oral health habit!

SOURCES:

American Dental Association, Healthy People 2010

This tool is intended only for adults 18 and older.

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