Jaw Fractures Recognizing Signs and Seeking Prompt Treatment

Jaw Fractures: Recognizing Signs and Seeking Prompt Treatment

Fractures of the jaw and face are common and similar to those that occur in other parts of the body. Whatever the reasons, facial fractures can cause symptoms like nosebleeds, swelling, and pain, depending on the bone that is fractured.

Typically, jaw fractures are caused due to reasons like:

  • An accident at a workplace
  • A fall inside your house
  • A physical fight, or
  • A vehicle accident  

If you have suffered such a fracture, promptly visit the nearest maxillofacial surgeon for a proper evaluation and treatment. Delays in doing so can increase the severity of the injury and lead to complications, including difficulty breathing or even double vision.  

This article will take you through the signs and symptoms of jaw fractures and explore the available treatment options.

Understanding Jaw Fractures

Understanding Jaw Fractures

A fractured jaw indicates that something hit your lower jawbone or mandible to break the bone. A person may break the jawbone in multiple places, from the top of the lower jawbone to the angle in the jaw that curves back and up towards the ears.

It doesn’t matter where your jaw fracture is located. A broken jaw is considered a medical emergency and must be treated promptly by a maxillofacial surgeon.

Common Signs and symptoms of jaw fractures

A person suffering a jaw fracture will notice these signs:

  • Bleeding in the nose or mouth
  • A bruise on the jaw or cheek
  • Swelling in the jaw or cheek

Common Signs and symptoms of jaw fractures

Image:  A woman with swelling in the cheek

  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Pain in the ears
  • Pain while trying to talk or speak
  • Chipped or loose teeth that don’t align on opening or closing the mouth

A broken lower jaw can be very painful, especially when trying to move it back or forth or up and down. You may find you are unable to open or close your mouth. Sometimes, it may even affect your breathing. 

The Importance of Prompt Treatment For Jaw Fractures

As explained earlier, a broken jaw, if ignored, could impact your ability to perform basic functions like breathing, speaking, or eating. Moreover, if treatment is postponed, the jawbone may not heal properly, affecting your appearance and its functions. 

Prompt medical treatment is essential to prevent permanent facial disfigurement or loss of function. Since the face performs vital functions,  the treating maxillofacial surgeon must ensure they are properly restored. This is more important than merely cosmetic or aesthetic outcomes.   

The treatment is usually based on the number of places affected by the fracture and its severity. Your maxillofacial surgeon will first conduct a physical exam and then suggest tests to determine the extent of the damage. 

Only experienced maxillofacial surgeons with a thorough knowledge of dental occlusion can examine the alignment of your teeth and their relation to each other to identify how they can align the fractured facial bones to their right position. With their expertise, your maxillofacial surgeon will treat your fracture carefully to prevent deformities and complications.

Knowing the Treatment Options

Based on the severity, your maxillofacial surgeon will decide on the treatment method:

  • Mild fractures: For minor fractures, your surgeon may prescribe a liquid diet for four to six weeks.
  • Severe fractures: Surgical treatment is the best option in such cases. Your maxillofacial surgeon will fix metal plates or bars on the jaw’s broken area. They will hold your bone in place till it heals.  

Tests to diagnose jaw fracture:

  • X-ray – to get a detailed image of the jaw and determine the extent of damage
  • CT Scan – to check for internal bleeding or other broken bones in the face

Outlook And Recovery For A Person With A Jaw Fracture

Typically, the surgery and dental occlusion lead to quick healing. You may be able to eat within 24 hours after surgery and even return to regular life within a week’s time. However, recovery depends on your fracture’s severity. In some cases, your jawbone will take more time to heal completely, and you may be asked to be on a liquid diet till the jaw heals and the surgeon can remove the plates and metals. After the bones are set, the jaw needs to remain stationary for around two to six weeks to promote full healing.


For facial injuries, always consult a Maxillofacial surgeon. As the majority of hospitals don’t have a Maxillofacial surgeon, these cases are managed by a plastic surgeon, leading to severe problems in restoring facial esthetics and functional problems of chewing.

Dealing with jaw fractures and related issues requires a specialized knowledge of dental occlusion to identify the pre-trauma dental alignment. Only experienced maxillofacial surgeons like those at Gnathos Facial, with over 10 years of experience, can treat your fracture and save your face without letting you suffer deformities or complications.

Leveraging our expertise in treating facial fractures, we accurately identify dental occlusion using a few surface indicators on your teeth, even in severe accident cases. We ensure that your facial functions and features are fully restored and you quickly return to your regular lifestyle.

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