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Symptoms and Signs of Broken Jaw

Doctor's Notes on Broken Jaw Symptoms, Treatments, and Recovery Time

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 can include the 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.

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Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019

Broken Jaw Symptoms, Treatments, and Recovery Time Symptoms

In the majority of patients, the signs and symptoms of a jawbone fracture begin to develop immediately after some trauma to the jaw.

  • The most common symptom is jaw pain.
  • People may feel that your teeth do not fit together correctly (this is called a malocclusion). They may be unable to open their jaw all the way, have problems speaking or chewing food, or notice swelling or displacement of the jaw.
  • The chin or lower lip may be numb because of damage to a nerve that runs through the mandible.
  • Inside the mouth, bleeding or change in the normal lineup of teeth or both can be signs of a broken jaw. There might also be bruising under the tongue or even a cut in the ear canal due to movement backward of the broken jawbone.
  • Drooling and the inability to close the mouth may occur.

Broken Jaw Symptoms, Treatments, and Recovery Time Causes

Although a jawbone fracture may occur from many pathological causes (for example, cancer, bone loss through infections), the large majority of fractures occur from the following:

  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Assaults (facial trauma)
  • Sports-related injuries (boxing, football)
  • Falls (face-first falls)

The majority of mandibular (jawbone) fractures occur in young adult males (20-30 years of age), with most occurring in the body, condyle, and angle areas of the jawbone.

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Osteoporosis Super-Foods for Strong Bones With Pictures Slideshow

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