If you have the misfortune of an accidental blow or traumatic injury to the face, there is a strong possibility that you could suffer a fracture to your mandible, or jaw bone. The jaw is a particularly dense and strong bone, but its shape and location make it especially vulnerable to an injury such as a fracture, particularly in line with impacted teeth. Should such an injury occur, prompt medical attention and jaw surgery will improve your chances of a complete recovery.
A mandibular fracture typically results in intense and immediate swelling, which can restrict the movement of the jaw. These fractures can also change the contour of the face and as well as the alignment of the teeth. In the process of stabilizing and treating a broken jaw, our experienced oral surgeons will also ensure that the proper alignment of the teeth can be restored.
A proper diagnosis of a mandibular fracture can also help to ensure that a complete recovery is achieved. The extent of the fracture, the location of the fracture, and the number of fractures must all be determined and considered prior to the start of the surgical procedure. This occurs with the aid of advanced maxillofacial trauma imaging techniques with 3D cone beam CT scans.
Generally, the fractured portions of the jaw bone must be fitted together as closely as possible and then stabilized in order to allow the bones to fuse together again. Sometimes the bones can be realigned even without invasive or extensive surgery. Once the bones have been set, the jaw will need to remain stationary for a specified period of time (typically 2-6 weeks) to promote proper healing. Bone plates and screws are utilized for rigid fixation in an open reduction internal fixation technique (ORIF). In a closed reduction technique, the jaws are wired together to prevent movement.
To treat complex or multiple mandibular fractures, however, the bones will need to be surgically exposed, repositioned, and firmly stabilized with small screws or plates along with sometimes the addition of maxilla-mandibular fixation by wiring the jaws.
To evaluate the extent of a mandibular fracture, your oral surgeon will need to perform a clinical examination with the help of digital imaging. The appropriate form of jaw surgery will be recommended, and the details of the procedure as well as the post-operative instructions will be discussed with you.
Learn more by calling our dual degree oral and maxillofacial surgeon at ORA, Drs. Steven Koos DDS, MD to schedule an appointment today.