Lower Jaw Fractures
Mandible fractures are severe fractures, such as fractures with breaks in multiple places or where the ends of the bones separate (displaced fracture), may warrant jaw repair.
The doctor may screw metal plates into the bone on either side of the fracture. On top of this, they may wire the upper and lower jaw together for many weeks.
Fractures to the lower jaw, or mandible, result from strong blunt force trauma. Examples include car crashes, fights, bicycle accidents, and falls. The mandible is divided into the condyles (where the mandible meets the temporomandibular joints or TMJs), ramus (vertical part of the mandible), body (horizontal part of the mandible which bears the teeth), angle (where the ramus connects to the body), and parasymphysis (front of the mandible). Fractures may occur in any of these areas. Often, the lower jaw is fractured in multiple places.
Patients with mandible fractures experience pain and swelling, and may feel that the upper and lower teeth no longer fit together properly. This is called malocclusion. A nerve called the inferior alveolar nerve travels through the mandible and gives sensation to the lower teeth, gums, and lower lip. It is often injured during a mandible fracture and may lead to numbness in these areas. This is usually temporary, but may take months to resolve.