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What are jaw injuries and what are their causes?


Due to delicate structures on the face, the jawbones suffer significant injuries, such as fractures and dislocations. Know the first aid to apply in these cases.

The jaws are the bones that make up the lower part of the face. We have two jaws: the upper one, where the upper teeth are inserted, and the lower one, commonly called the mandible. The two jaws are joined by the temporomandibular joint, which is at the ear’s level and is easily palpable when we open and close our mouths.

Jaw fractures are the breakage of any of these bones and can occur in any part, although the most important are those of the lower jaw because of being mobile bones. There is more risk of aggravation with movement also that as it limits the use of the mouth, making it much more annoying when talking, eating, or drinking.

Another type of maxillary injury is dislocation, which occurs at the joint level and may or may not is accompanied by breakage. It occurs when the lower jaw is displaced from its natural position, and the joint is dislocated, like when two pieces should be together falling apart.

Causes of jaw injuries

Like any other bone in the body, if a force greater than its resistance is applied to the jaw, it will eventually break or dislocate. By this rule of three, it follows that any strong impact can be the cause of the jaw injury (either fracture or dislocation), including:

  • Blows for physical aggression, very common in fights with direct punches to the face.
  • Accidents of any kind, both car and work.
  • Sports injuries; Contact sports are one of the main causes of jaw injuries.
  • Joint hypermobility. This is a disease of the tissues, including tendons, muscles, and ligaments, making the joints more flexible and weaker because the structures cannot hold the bone in place, and dislocations are very easy.
  • Some people can dislocate their jaw by opening their mouth too wide, such as yawning, screaming, or vomiting. Also, biting into something very hard can dislocate the jaw.

Symptoms of a jaw injury

The signs of a jaw fracture and a dislocated jaw are slightly different, and it never hurts to learn the difference. Regarding maxillary fractures, the most common symptoms are:

  • Pain that worsens when you open and closes your mouth, limiting movement.
  • Bleeding from the mouth and bruising of the face when blood vessels have been damaged.
  • The teeth sometimes appear broken or move.
  • If a facial nerve has been damaged, you may feel a tingling and numbness in the jaw.
  • Deformation of the jaw, sometimes noticeable protrusions, or a different appearance.

If the cause of the dislocated jaw is traumatic, some of the symptoms listed above may appear. However, the characteristics of a dislocated jaw are:

  • Pain localized in the jaw joint, in front of the ear on the affected side. It is aggravated when chewing. This is also a cause of difficulty speaking.
  • Sometimes it is impossible to close the mouth, and there is constant drooling.
  • The deformation is obvious, the jaw is crooked or tilted forward, and when closing the mouth, the teeth are not aligned correctly.