Jaw Fracture In Children
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
A jaw fracture is a break in your child's mandible (lower jawbone).
Your child may need any of the following:
- Acetaminophen decreases pain. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much your child should take and how often he should take it. Follow directions. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly.
- NSAIDs help decrease swelling and pain or fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If your child takes blood thinner medicine, always ask if NSAIDs are safe for him. Always read the medicine label and follow directions. Do not give these medicines to children under 6 months of age without direction from your child's doctor.
- Pain medicine may be given. Ask your child's healthcare provider how your child can take this medicine safely.
- Antibiotics may be given to help treat or prevent a bacterial infection if the bone broke through your child's skin.
- Do not give aspirin to children under 18 years of age. Your child could develop Reye syndrome if he takes aspirin. Reye syndrome can cause life-threatening brain and liver damage. Check your child's medicine labels for aspirin, salicylates, or oil of wintergreen.
- Take your medicine as directed. Call your 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 child's healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
How to care for your child after a jaw fracture:
- Help your child clean his teeth 4 to 6 times a day. Use a water pik or a small, soft toothbrush. Ask your child's healthcare provider for information about mouth care.
- Your child may need more rest than he realizes while he heals. Quiet play will keep your child busy so he does not risk injuring himself. Have your child read or draw quietly. Ask your child's healthcare provider how much rest your child needs and when he can return to regular activities.
- Do not let your child play sports while his jaw heals. His fractured jaw may bleed, bruise easily, or break again. Ask your child's healthcare provider when it is safe for your child to play sports again.
- Your child may not be able to eat solid food for a period of time. He may need a liquid diet, so his jaw can rest and heal. He may need to use a straw to drink if his upper and lower teeth are wired together. Ask your child's healthcare provider how to cut the wire quickly if your child needs to vomit or has a coughing attack. Keep the wire cutters where you can quickly find them.
- Over time, your child may be able to eat soft foods that are easier to bite, chew, or swallow. Soft foods are applesauce, baby food, bananas, cooked cereal, cottage cheese, eggs, pudding, and yogurt. Ask your healthcare provider for more information about what foods or liquids your child is allowed to eat or drink.
Contact your child's healthcare provider if:
- Your child has a fever.
- Your child has pain, even after he takes medicine.
- The wires or splints in your child's mouth are loose.
- You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.
Return to the emergency department if:
- Your child is vomiting and cannot keep any liquids down.
- Your child has increased pain that does not go away, even after he takes medicine.
- Your child has problems breathing, talking, drinking, eating, or swallowing.
- Your child's splint breaks or gets damaged, or becomes soaked with blood.
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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.