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.
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.
Many jaw fractures require surgery. Because of that, you may need to follow up with a surgeon.
All antibiotics need to be taken as instructed.
Follow all recommendations on diet.
Because the most common causes of jaw fractures are the result of motor vehicle accidents and assaults, the best prevention is to drive carefully and choose your friends wisely. A more realistic step that can be taken is wearing protective devices in sporting activities.
Depending on the nature and location of the fracture, the fracture may have to be fixed with surgery. Some fractures do not require surgery and are managed best with diet changes and pain control. Some people may need to be admitted to the hospital based on their injury.
Media file 1: Broken jaw. The dark angular line near the bottom left of the skull (viewer's right) is the fracture. Photo courtesy of Lisa Chan, MD; Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Arizona.
Media type: X-RAY
Synonyms and Keywords
mandibular fracture, malocclusion, broken jaw, fractured jaw