A broken jaw is a severe injury to deal with because most people eat and talk daily. A Broken jaw injury can be very disruptive to any lifestyle due not being able to chew or talk as good. Rapper 50 Cent was shot in the jaw, and it has made is slurred speech known around the world because of how different he sounds. He is one of many examples of the permanent changes that can occur as a result of a jaw injury.
What is a Broken Jaw?
The jaw is a joint that connects the lower jaw bone to the skull. The joint is called the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). The jaw can be cracked for various reasons or be unhooked from the hinges it sits on which is know as a jaw dislocation.
Symptoms of Broken Jaw
- Severe pain in the jaw
- Fascial swelling in the cheek area
- Trouble breathing
- Difficulty chewing
- Difficulty talking
- Numbness and bruising in the face
- Loose teeth
- Numb gums
The bleeding from a broken jaw can occur inside of the mouth causing the blood the block breathing airways. The swelling can also make the jaw very stiff, which makes it difficult to breathe because you cannot move the jaw how you are used to moving it.
Causes of Broken Jaw
The leading causes of a broken jaw are all traumas to the face. The jaw starts at the chin and goes all the way up to the ear on both sides of the body. Getting hit directly on the jaw can cause the bone to shatter. This is why people sometimes say that someone has a “glass jaw.” What they are are saying is that their jaw is easy to break. Specific causes of the broken jaw include:
- Getting punched in the face
- Any physical assault to the face
- Sports injuries from contact sports
- Car accidents
- Falling in home and hitting head
- Workplace accidents
What About a Dislocated Jaw?
Sometimes people think they have broken their jaw when they have dislocated their jaw. The dislocated jaw is when that jaw thing is disrupted. Other symptoms of a jaw dislocation include:
- Extreme overbright
- Teeth alignment feels off
- Trouble clothing mouth which can lead to drooling
- Speaking may be difficult
Diagnosing a Broken Jaw
A broken jaw needs to be diagnosed by a doctor. Usually, a doctor will do an evaluation and order an X-ray to see what is going on. Dislocations can be treated by a surgeon or a dentist, but fractures need a surgeon, especially for severe fractures.
Treatment For Broken Jaw
A broken jaw is considered a medical emergency, so if you think you have one now, you should go to the hospital. The best thing you can do while waiting is supported the lower jaw and make sure you keep the air pipe open.
For a dislocation, the doctor will have the manually put the jaw back in place. Many times a local anesthetic will be given to help reduce the pain. The key to this being done right is relaxing enough to allow the doctor to do the maneuver. In the worst situations, surgery will be needed to get the TMJ to go back to normal.
A broken jaw often will need to be wired shut to heal. The same way that a broken leg is put into a cast for protection, a jaw must be wired closed to protect it and immobilize it. Bone cannot heal with it is being moved or stressed!
Dealing With Having a Wired Jaw
The hardest part about breaking a jaw is the healing process because you will not be able to move your jaw very much at all. That makes having a social life and eating very hard. To get your food in you will have to be on a liquid diet which is not fun for anyone. No one wants to drink their food for six weeks but it has to be done in this situation.
The biggest concern here is making sure that you get all of your nutrients covered. Most people have not even had to drink their food for the day nevermind doing it for six weeks. .It may be a good idea to work with a dietitian at this time, especially if you are an athlete.
To eat healthy during this time you have to eat much more frequently than you are used to. It will take some time to get used to having to drink foods like oatmeal. You have to figure what foods you can tolerate.
Some people can tolerate drinking things like meat, but some people struggle to drink anything other than fruits and veggies. Baby food is another great option as it comes with all of the nutrients that you are going to need.
Going Forward After Healing Your Broken Jaw
With a broken jaw, the outlook going forward actually looks excellent. With both surgical and nonsurgical fractures, there are rarely issues going forward. When it comes to jaw dislocations through the perspective can be different. With a jaw dislocation, you become more suspectable to doing it again in the future. You have to be aware of that and make the extra effort to protect your jaw.