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What You Should Do if You Have a Jaw Injury from Sports

One of the most important aspects of staying healthy is to have regular physical activity. Whether it be exercise, gym work or playing sports, the positive effects of these physical activities to one’s overall health is undeniable.

However, there can be times where we can get an injury from these activities, especially when playing sports. One of the most painful experiences is getting a jaw injury from sports. Usually if this happens, a jaw surgery will be needed as soon as possible to restore your jaw to its proper position and structure.

A jaw injury can happen because of multiple circumstances, such as getting hit on the chin by a football, or having your teammate accidentally elbow during a game of basketball. It can even happen if you trip accidentally while running or jogging. Lots of people who’ve experienced a jaw injury can attest the importance of getting surgery as soon as you can to mitigate the effects of the injury and to restore your jaw.

How do you tell if the injury caused your jaw to be dislocated or broken?

Some people who have just had a jaw injury would sometimes brush it off, thinking that maybe it wasn’t that big of a deal. Some will even endure the pain and think that the pain will probably just disappear over time. If this happens, the injury can cause some permanent damage that may require some more advanced procedure or surgery to fix. It is important that you recognize the signs that you may have a broken or dislocated jaw.

The most common symptom of a broken or dislocated jaw is that it probably hurts a lot. Besides that, here are some other symptoms:

  • Injuries to the gums and teeth, such as a chipped tooth or delicate gums
  • Bleeding from the nose or mouth
  • Pain in the ear/s
  • Having a hard time breathing, talking, swallowing, or eating
  • Numbness of the face
  • Bruising in the cheek or chin area
  • Being unable to close your mouth shut or open it wide

If you experience a lot of the symptoms above, you may have a dislocated or broken jaw and need medical attention immediately.

Is there a way to prevent a jaw injury from happening?

If you play a lot of sports that involve contact, like basketball or football, then there is going to be a bigger risk of a jaw injury. To help reduce this risk, you can wear some protective gear like mouthguards to reduce the risk of an injury.

So, what should you do if you just had a jaw injury?

Get yourself to a hospital as soon as possible. That way you can get immediate care and have an orthopedic doctor assess the damage to your jaw. An X-ray of your jaw will be taken and will be examined by the doctor, and he/she will then determine if further tests and X-rays are needed to get the full extent of the jaw injury.

Now, depending on the results of the tests and the doctor’s personal evaluation of your injury, he/she can provide a few treatment options.

For a dislocated jaw:

The doctor will have you undergo a closed reduction treatment, a nonsurgical procedure where your jaw will be moved back into place manually. To reduce the discomfort and numb the area, a local anesthetic will be injected into your jaw. A sedative may also be given to you to help you relax during the procedure.

Surgery may be recommended if this frequently happens to you. The surgical procedure will involve the shortening of the ligaments connecting your jawbone and skull, which in turn tightens their attachment and makes it less probably for you to dislocate your jaw again.

For a broken jaw:

The treatment will depend on how severe the break is. For minor fractures, your doctor may suggest you let these fractures heal on their own. You will have to switch to a liquid or soft diet to lessen the pressure on your jaw while it’s still healing.

If it is a more serious break, it will need to undergo surgery to fix it. The orthopedic surgeon will usually attach the upper and lower jawbones together with wire to help the fracture heal in place. Metal plates can also be placed on the broken area to help heal it faster. \

Is there a risk of complications from a jaw injury treatment procedure?

There will always be a risk of complications for any type of surgery. We can reduce this risk by getting someone who’s had a jaw injury to the hospital as soon as possible. The longer you wait after a jaw injury, the bigger the risk of developing a permanent issue like having trouble breathing.

How is recovery after treatment for a jaw injury?

Recovery will require a lot of patience from the patient as it will take several weeks for the fracture or dislocation to fully heal. Your doctor may advise you to do some of the following to help speed up your recovery:

  • Eat only soft foods or a liquid diet to lessen the pressure on your jaw.
  • Use an ice pack to reduce the swelling on the jaw.
  • Stop yourself from yawning or sneezing by placing a hand or fist under the chin to keep your jaw shut. Doing any of the two will put a lot of pressure to open the jaw and may lead to some more problems.
  • Take some painkiller to reduce the discomfort and some antibiotics to stop infections.
  • Wear a Barton bandage wrapped on your jaw for a couple of weeks to stabilize it for recovery.
  • If you are unable to brush your teeth, or if it’s painful to do so, you can buy a prescription dental mouthwash to clean your teeth and gums.

After your jaw fully heals, your doctor will still monitor your status for a while. He/she will also recommend you do some jaw exercises to encourage a healthy body.

TES Clinic

304 Orchard Road, Lucky Plaza Suites

#05-42, Orchard Medical Specialists

Singapore 238863

+65 6737 0552

+65 9735 9930

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