Jaw Fracture In Adults
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
A jaw fracture is a break in your jawbone. It may take weeks or months for the jawbone to heal.
AFTER YOU LEAVE:
- Acetaminophen: This medicine decreases pain. Acetaminophen is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to take and how often to take it. Follow directions. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly.
- Ibuprofen: This medicine decreases pain and swelling. Ibuprofen is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to take and how often to take it. Follow directions. Ibuprofen can cause stomach bleeding and kidney damage if not taken correctly.
- Pain medicine: You may be given a prescription medicine to decrease pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take this medicine.
- Antibiotic medicine: This medicine may be given if you have an open wound. Antibiotic medicine is used to treat an infection caused by bacteria.
- Take your medicine as directed. Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Follow up with your primary healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
You may need to see a dentist to fix damaged or broken teeth. Dental or orthodontic treatment may also be needed if your upper and lower teeth are not aligned properly because of your injury.
If your jaw is wired, you will need to eat foods that have been blended with liquids. You will have to eat these foods through a syringe or straw. If your mouth is not wired, you may need to eat only soft foods. Some examples are applesauce, bananas, cooked cereal, cottage cheese, gelatin, pudding, and yogurt. Ask for more information about the type of foods you can eat.
- Apply ice: Ice helps decrease swelling and pain. Ice may also help prevent tissue damage. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel and place it on your face for 15 to 20 minutes every hour or as directed.
- Clean your mouth often: You will need to clean your mouth 4 to 6 times a day. Caregivers will show you how to do this. Mouth cleaning will remove pieces of food and clean your teeth. A water pik or a child-sized soft toothbrush will work well to clean your mouth.
- Avoid putting pressure on your jaw: Do not push on your jaw or let anything push on it. Sleep on your back.
Contact your primary healthcare provider if:
- You have a fever.
- You have a bad headache.
- You have numbness in your face.
- You have jaw pain that does not go away with medicine.
- The wires in your mouth are loose.
Seek care immediately or call 911 if:
- You have trouble breathing.
- You suddenly feel lightheaded and short of breath.
- You have chest pain when you take a deep breath or cough. You may cough up blood.
- Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.