It’s easy to take your jaw for granted until it fractures, breaks, or becomes dislocated. Any problems with the jaw can result in excruciating pain, breathing problems, eating difficulties, and other unwanted effects. Fortunately, oral surgeons are specially trained to treat jaw injuries and restore the mouth back to health.
How Does the Jaw Become Injured?
The jaw consists of two joints known as the temporomandibular joints (TMJ) that connect the lower jawbone to the skull. Any strong force or trauma, such as physical assault to the face, vehicle accidents, and sports injuries, can lead the TMJ to crack, break, or become unhinged and dislocated from the skull. All three injuries are serious and require immediate medical care.
The Best Ways to Treat Jaw Injuries
The specific nature of a jaw injury will dictate how it is treated. When the jaw becomes dislocated, an oral surgeon will place it back into position. This is usually done manually with the help of local anesthetics and muscle relaxants to alleviate pain and loosen the jaw muscles enough to be manipulated. In more extreme cases, surgery could also be a solution. A fractured or broken jaw could also require surgery. Though clean breaks have the potential to heal on their own if the jaw remains wired shut and immobilized, more complicated breaks and fractures can only recover with surgery.
Getting Your Jaw Wired Shut
Since immobility is the key to recovery after a break or dislocation, the jaw needs to be bandaged or wired shut for a certain amount of time. While a minor dislocation or fracture might only require a bandage to prevent the jaw from opening wide, a more severe break will need to be wired shut to keep the jaw closed and bite properly in place. This process requires six weeks of recovery time, after which time the jaw heals successfully and can function as normal.
If you find yourself with a serious jaw injury that requires immediate treatment, reach out to Broward Oral Surgery Associates in Hollywood and Pembroke Pines, Florida. Dr. Seider and Dr. Stevens are skilled oral and maxillofacial surgeons with five decades of experience serving the South Florida area. Call (954) 870-4826 or (954) 241-3143 to schedule your appointment today.