Broken Jaw (Mandible Fracture)
Broken Jaw (Mandible Fracture) Overview
A broken jaw (or mandible fracture) is a common facial injury. Only the nose is broken more frequently. A broken jaw is the 10th most common fractured bone in the human body. Fractures (breaks in the bone) are generally the result of a direct force or trauma to the jawbone (mandible).
A dislocated jawbone means that the temporomandibular joint (where the jaw connects with the skull) is moved out of place. The jawbone may or may not be fractured, but even if there is no fracture, symptoms (listed below) may be similar to a jawbone fracture. Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dislocation and syndrome is a topic of another article.
Consequently, linking the anatomical region with the fracture type describes the fracture of the jaw (for example, a comminuted compound fracture of the body and alveolus of the mandible).
Before the 19th century, most jaw fractures were treated with external wraps and healing was poor, infections were frequent, and realignment of the jawbone to facilitate normal positions of the teeth was infrequently accomplished. The normal stresses on the jawbone generated by chewing food did not aid fracture healing and many people died from poor or no adequate treatment. In the late 1880s, stabilization of the jawbone with bars, plates, and screws was begun. Jawbone stabilization has been further refined over the subsequent years to include rigid fixation with proper tooth alignment by open reduction with plate and screw fixation, although occasionally variations in the procedure may be done.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/6/2012
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