Broken jaw treatment and surgery has come a long way. If you break your jaw, whether in a car accident or another type of accident, you’ll receive modern, reliable care.
Before the late 1800s, your doctor would have treated your broken jaw by simply wrapping it. Many times, broken jaws healed poorly, and even got infected. Worse, many people could not afford care, didn’t have their jaws realigned properly, and even died from malnutrition since chewing was nearly impossible.
Now, our broken jaw patients experience excellent stabilization, proper tooth alignment, and full healing. Bars, plates, and screws aid in the healing process and help patients return to full health more quickly.
However, jaw pain doesn’t always equal a broken jaw. Many people who have a non-fracture jaw injury can simply be prescribed pain medication and eat a soft diet. By their follow-up visits, most of these patients will have fully recovered.
Broken Jaw Treatment and Surgery
Patients with jaw fractures need further care. In the case of gum or tissue injury (open fractures), we prescribe antibiotics and perform surgery. With stable fractures, our oral surgeons often only need to wire the upper and lower teeth together to promote proper healing.
For unstable broken jaws, we perform surgery. This may include applying plates or perforated bars across the fracture, with screws securing the plates to the jawbone. With this method, some patients may even have normal jaw motion as soon as a week after surgery.
Every broken jaw patient needs to follow up with their oral surgeon. It generally takes about six weeks to heal a broken jaw, but healing time depends on the extent of the injury and can vary. If you take all antibiotics as prescribed, healing should proceed predictably.
When eating, follow your post-surgery recommendations. Most patients lose a little weight. This is normal, since a wired-shut jawbone will only allow for pureed foods. Your surgeon will likely have you speak with a diet specialist to make sure you get proper nutrition while healing.
As you recover, remember that your jaw may ache for some time even when it is safe to move normally. If you have any concerns, questions, or need advice post-surgery, please contact us! We’re always glad to help patients achieve optimal recovery.