Mandibular Fractures (Broken Jaw)
The lower jaw is a frequent site for fractures because of :
  • accidents
  • assaults
  • sometimes underlying disease

There are 2 types of fractures:

  • open: The bone is exposed to air inside the mouth or outside the facial skin
  • closed: The bone is completely covered by soft tissue. 

Fractures can further be characterized as:

  • complete: The bone is broken completely into two or more pieces
  • incomplete: The bone is fractured only part way through 
  • comminuted:  The fracture is composed of many pieces 

here are the three steps in the repair of most fractures.

1. Reduction of the fracture:  Realigning the bony parts in their original anatomic relationship. 

2.Fixation of the fracture : Methods and materials are used to hold the bony parts in their correct relationship while healing occurs. 

  • maxillomandibular fixation is the wiring of the jaw shut.  Many fractures lend themselves to this treatment. When the upper dentition is good and the upper jaw is stable this allows the upper jaw to act as a cast for the lower jaw while it heals. 
  • internal fixation is the use of wires and or screws and plates to hold the bony segments in their correct relationship. This hardware may be applied inside the mouth or outside the mouth depending upon the ituation.
  • external fixation is the use surgical pins that are placed in the bony fragments and a external frame is placed between the pins to fix the bony fragments in their proper orientation. 

3.Healing and Rehabilitation:  This is the time that is allowed for healing and for physical therapy.  Adequate nutrition and rest, avoiding alcohol and, tobacco is very important. 

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Stuart A. Greene, DDS-FAGD
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