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Recently New York Jet’s quarterback, Geno Smith, was involved in an altercation with a teammate and suffered a punch to the face that resulted in a broken jaw. He is expected to miss 6 to 10 weeks and likely the first two games of the regular season.
What is a broken jaw?
Typically a broken jaw refers to a fracture in the lower jawbone. The lower jawbone is also referred to as the mandible. The mandible is divided into several anatomical parts. Fractures in different areas of the mandible can be managed differently.
How is a mandibular fracture fixed?
Usually, a mandibular fracture is managed by placing titanium plates over the fracture line. This procedure is typically done through an incision inside the mouth. Depending on the location, specialized braces called arch bars, can also be placed around the teeth. The teeth are then secured together to allow the fracture to be further stabilized.
Does the mouth need to be wired shut?
Rarely, the teeth are fixed together for a long period of time to allow the fracture to heal. This is done through special wires. At Osborne Head and Neck Institute we use all the latest techniques available to us in order to avoid this form of treatment.
How long is the recovery from a broken jaw?
Once surgically corrected, the bone begins to heal immediately. A liquid diet should be maintained for a period of 6 weeks during this period to avoid stressing the mandible. Essentially, no chewing is permitted during this time. Also, any strong contact to the area should be avoided for up to 2-3 months. However, talking and moving of the mouth should return to normal in a few days after surgery.
What should I do if I think I have a broken jaw?
If you suspect you have a broken jaw, you should promptly seek treatment for your injury. Initial evaluation of this injury should include a CT scan of the head in order to visualize the extent of the underlying injury. All cases of suspected mandibular fracture should be treated by a facial trauma specialist.
To learn more about Dr. Hootan Zandifar and mandibular fracture repair, please visit www.FacialTraumaMD.com.