The tenth most fractured bone in the human body is the jaw bone. Also known as a mandibular fracture, a broken jaw comes in right behind a broken nose as the most common facial injury. This type of fracture is usually the result of a direct force to the jawbone.
The jawbone is actually the largest bone of the lower part of the face. Men are three times more likely than women to sustain a fracture in their jaw. The most commonly affected group is the 20-29 age range. According to www.emedicinehealth.com, some contributing factors to a jawbone fracture include automobile accidents, sports injuries, assaults, and falls.
Pain is the most common symptom of a broken jawbone. Your teeth may also feel as if they are not aligning together properly (malocclusion). You may experience difficulty in opening your jaw all the way, encounter troubles in speaking, or have swelling around that area. If a nerve is affected, your chin or lower lip may become numb. Within your mouth, you may experience some bleeding or recognize a change in the usual lineup of your teeth. Bruising might be present under the tongue, and you may even sustain a cut in the ear canal as a result of the backward motion of the broken jawbone.
If you notice any of these symptoms, it is best to seek immediate medical care. This type of injury is best examined within a hospital setting. It may be advisable to go to the nearest emergency room. A potentially serious side effect to a broken jawbone is that one’s breathing may become difficult due to the loss of support to the tongue. If you recognize any trouble with breathing, be sure to call 911 immediately.
When examining a fractured jawbone, the doctor will perform a physical exam and order any x-rays as needed. The doctor will inspect your face for signs of swelling, bruising, or any deformity as a result of the injury. He would then begin to feel the jawbone through the skin. Movement of the jawbone will be checked, as well as the inside of your mouth. Much like you are asked by a dentist to bite down to check the alignment of your teeth, the doctor will ask you to do the same under these conditions. The straight blade test is done to check for jaw stability. The doctor will check to see if you can hold a tongue blade or depressor in place between your teeth.
The best way to view the fractured jaw is through a panoramic x-ray of the injured area. This provides for a complete view of the jaw. Not all hospitals have the equipment to do this, especially the smaller ones, so other views will be used. It is very important for jawbone injuries that you be seen by a doctor or by a dentist who has a focus on oral surgery.
While some fractured jawbones do require surgery, some are managed with pain medication and certain dietary changes, such as a soft diet until the area heals. In some instances treatment consists of wiring together the upper and lower teeth, and this procedure is usually done by an oral surgeon.
As with anything, prevention is the best medicine. Since many jawbone fractures result from car accidents or assaults, be sure to buckle up, drive safely, and stick with a good crowd of people! If you are involved with sports, be sure to wear some protective devices. Protect your face! It is the only one you have!
(Information for this article was found at www.emedicinehealth.com.)