What To Do With A Broken Jaw

In the event of an accident or trauma, your jawbone can break. This is always extremely painful, and the symptoms will include massive swelling, the aforementioned pain, possibly bleeding, possibly the dislodgement of teeth (depending on where the jaw broke), lockjaw or an inability to close the jaw. Usually, when the jaw breaks, it breaks at “the hinges”, or at the TMJ (which is short for temporomandibular joint, the joint that connects the two jaw bones, the upper and lower), but fractures and even breaking of the actual mandible can also happen.

Handling A Broken Jaw

Breaking your jaw is very serious business. When this occurs, you should go to the emergency room immediately, as you will need intensive care, and you may also need to have screws put in your jaw to hold it in place. A short hospital visit may also be the order of the day, depending on how badly the bone is broken. 

Frequently, wires will be used to reattach your jaw after a TMJ breakage, which is by far the most common jaw trauma. When this happens, an enforced lockjaw will be in place because of the wires for some time, usually around two to three weeks. During this time, depending on the damage, you may find that you can only open your mouth a centimeter or two, which means you will not eat solid food, but will have to subsist on a liquid diet. Aside from products like nutritional drinks and fortified milk, you can pure pretty much anything, and eat lots of thick, brothy soups. Speech is also impossible during this time, use a text message, or a good old pen and pencil to transmit information. Aside from this it is important to not move around too much, so no running, jogging or vigorous physical activity, as that may lengthen the time you spend healing.

Luckily, you will not need to have your jaw wired shut if you have breakage along the jawbone itself. Unluckily, though, you may have to experience the same problems, i.e.: a liquid diet and a lack of speech, as your jaw may be swollen, your teeth may be in danger of falling out, and thus chewing may not be a possibility.

First Response

While waiting for the ICU, there are some things you can do that will make the doctors job a lot easier. For example, apply a cold compress to the area that is affected. This will reduce pain, and may also reduce swelling. Depending on the extent and location of the damage, you may need to lie down while applying this, as transporting you may also be an issue.