Jaw injuries from a severe blow to the face can be seriously painful and need immediate attention. If there is pain while clenching or moving the jaw, the jaw is stuck in either an open or closed position and cannot be moved like normal, there is swelling on the face or if the teeth do not align and it is difficult and painful to bite down normally these could all be signs of a broken or dislocated jaw.
A dentist cannot make a full assessment unless they thoroughly examine a problematic jaw and this is where it is important to get emergency medical support. At our clinic we work with patients who present with temporo-mandibular (jaw) joint obstructions.
The jaw-related complaints that patients usually come with fall under the following categories:
- An injury to the jaw joint would cause the area to swell
- There is a fracture to the lower jaw
- There is a tooth impacted or dislocated
- The jaw joint has been dislocated
In any of these cases, the bodys natural response is to lock the jaw into place so that there is minimal movement and no further damage to the area. This happens in the form of muscular spasms as the muscles lock themselves into place to prevent movement.
The first course of treatment that the dentist will follow is to perform a radiological examination to check whether the damage is to the soft fleshy parts of the jaw or to the bones. If it is truly due to an impacted tooth that the swelling or pain has occurred then the dentist will take care of it. The severity goes up by a lot if it is the jaw bone that has come out of its place. In the latter case the jaw must be kept immobile for the healing period once it is set in place. The two sets of teeth- upper and lower are kept together for a period of two weeks while the jaw heals.
Pain in generally so intense and the symptoms so stark that patients generally contact a dentist immediately. However, the dentist may refer to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon if the case so demands.