Jaw Fractures (Maxilla and Mandible)

Jaw fractures may occur in both the lower and upper jaws. They may involve partial fracture or segments containing teeth or may be complete. There is often bleeding and the bite may feel off. There might also be areas of numbness over the lip, chin, or other facial regions. Treatment is required to re-align your teeth and bite, to allow proper healing of bone and avoid deformities.

Types of fractures:

  • Dento-alveolar fractures: Involves teeth, gum tissue, and surrounding bone. It may present as avulsed or subluxated teeth, gum tissue lacerations, and partial displacement of the jaw bone segment.
  • Lower jaw (mandible) fractures: May involve the chin area (symphasis), the middle (body), angle, or joint (condyle) areas. Fractures are often open and occur in multiple sites.
  • Upper jaw (maxilla) fractures: May involve the entire jaw or half of it. The jaw appears to have been pushed back or down.

Emergency treatment for jaw fractures:

Treatment may take place in the office under IV sedation or in the hospital under general anesthesia. The treatment involves:

  • Examination of teeth around the fracture and extraction if severely damaged
  • Re-aligning of teeth and fractured segments
  • Holding the jaw stable using either wires (closed reduction) or plates (open reduction with internal fixation)
  • Repair of any cuts or lacerations
  • Jaw wiring may be required for four to six weeks, depending on type of injury. Patient will be on liquid diet for the duration of this treatment.