Symptoms and Signs of Broken Jaw

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 8/12/2022

Doctor's Notes on Broken Jaw

A broken jaw is a fracture or break of the jaw bone (mandible). This is a common type of facial injury. A broken jaw is most often caused by trauma in the form of a direct blow to the jawbone, occurring as a result of a face-first fall, automobile accident, sports injury, or assault.

Jaw pain is the most common symptom of a broken jaw. The pain of a broken jaw may be severe. Other associated symptoms and signs may include:

  • a sensation that the teeth are not aligned or do not fit together correctly (malocclusion),
  • swelling of the jaw, 
  • problems with speaking or chewing, 
  • numbness of the lower lip, 
  • inability to close the mouth, and 
  • bleeding or bruising.

What Is the Treatment for a Broken Jaw?

Treatment for a broken jaw requires pain medications to control the pain, which can be severe. Ice packs may be used following the injury to reduce swelling.

Mild cases may be treated by resting the jaw and eating soft foods until the bone heals. 

In more severe cases, a local anesthetic may be used to manipulate the bones back into the correct alignment and position. Wiring of the jaws together may be necessary while the bones heal, during which a liquid diet may be necessary.

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.