What is Broken Jaw?
- Broken Jaw is a term that describes a fracture in the jaw bone. The condition is a medical emergency that needs to be treated right-away
- In some cases, there may be displaced or broken tooth along-with a Broken Jaw. The condition can also be that the jaw is dislocated and moved out of its normal alignment
What are the Causes of Broken Jaw?
A Broken Jaw may be caused by:
- Contact or rough-impact sports
- Physical fights causing jaw injuries, domestic violence
- Fall injuries
- Car or motor vehicle accidents
- Accidents that occur at one’s workplace
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Broken Jaw?
The signs and symptoms of a Broken Jaw depend on the severity of the injury and may include:
- Pain in the jaw, which is severe during biting motion. The pain may also increase on opening one’s mouth
- The pain is felt on the side of the facial injury or fracture
- Localized swelling, with or without bruising
- Swollen face and lips, broken teeth
- Bleeding may be seen from the mouth
- Visible facial distortion or abnormality, in case of a severe injury
- Stiffness of jaw; else, the jaw is seen to move abnormally from one side to the other
- Nausea and vomiting
- Unable to speak
- Severe headache
- Loss of balance
- Difficulty breathing; obstruction of the airways
- Aspiration of food or blood into the lungs
- If the jaw is dislocated, the following may be noted (in addition to some of the above symptoms):
- Difficulty in closing one’s mouth
- Salivation from the mouth, since it is difficult to keep the mouth closed
- Visible jaw misalignment (jaw is to one side or it protrudes forward)
How is First Aid administered for Broken Jaw?
First Aid tips for Broken Jaw include:
- Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately
- If the individual is not breathing, begin CPR immediately (if you are trained to do so)
- If the individual is bleeding from the mouth, ask him/her to spit it without much effort into a piece of clean cloth or gauze
- Apply an ice-pack or ice wrapped in cloth, on the affected area
- Stop any bleeding by applying direct pressure on the affected area, using a clean cloth or bandage
- Support the jaw by firmly tying a handkerchief around the head and below the jaw (like a sling), so that the jaw is held in place
- Ensure that the tied handkerchief is not fastened too tight. If necessary, use a hand to gently support the jaw
- DO NOT attempt to realign the jaw or correct the defect in any manner
- In case the individual is going to vomit, remove the tied piece of cloth to permit the same
- In case any teeth are broken, retrieve them, hold them by the crown, clean using milk or water, and place them in cold milk/water (or even in saliva). Take these also to the healthcare specialist
- Immobilize the head in such a way that there is not much movement
Who should administer First Aid for Broken Jaw?
The individual with the Broken Jaw, or someone near the affected person, or a qualified healthcare personnel may administer First Aid.
What is the Prognosis of Broken Jaw?
The prognosis depends on the severity of the Broken Jaw and the prompt treatment provided.
- In many case, the healthcare provider can set the jaw back in position or set broken jaw bones
- In some cases of severe injury, a surgery may be necessary, wherein metal inserts are used to hold the jaw bones together. This may prolong the recovery period
- Post-operative care is important to ensure complete recovery and normal usage of jaw
How can Broken Jaw be Prevented?
A few helpful tips to prevent Broken Jaw:
- Use of appropriate headgear, wearing helmets and seat belts, may help avoid severe injuries during participation in certain sports activities
- Fall proof the home, especially when there are young children and elderly adults
What are certain Crucial Steps to be followed?
- DO NOT try to align the jaw into its normal position
- Immobilization of the jaw using a sling
- Starting CPR in case of breathing difficulty
- Calling 911 (or your local emergency number)