Jaw Fracture In Children

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

  • A jaw fracture is also known as a mandibular fracture. This occurs when your child's mandible (lower jawbone) is broken. The jaw is a long bone that forms the chin and holds the lower teeth. It goes up towards the ear on both sides of the face. Where it ends is called a condyle. The condyle is part of the jaw joint that helps in opening and closing the mouth. A jaw fracture is caused by an injury to the head or face. A direct blow during a fight, physical abuse, or car accident may cause the trauma.

  • Common signs and symptoms may include a bump, cut, bruise, swelling, or deformity on his jaw. Your child may have missing or loose teeth or a feeling that his teeth do not fit together. He may also have trouble breathing, talking, eating, biting, swallowing, or opening his mouth. An x-ray, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or computerized tomography (CT) scan may be used for diagnosis.

  • Treatment may include medicines for the relief of symptoms or surgery if the fracture is bad. The younger your child is, the faster the fracture will heal without further problems. With proper treatment, care, and follow-up, your child has a greater chance of having a full recovery. As your child's caregiver for more information about these tests and treatments.

CARE AGREEMENT:

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's caregivers to decide what care you want for your child.

RISKS:

Treatment for a jaw fracture may cause unpleasant side effects. Medicines may cause your child to have nausea or vomiting . He may bleed or get an infection if he has surgery. If left untreated, the fracture may not heal the right way and get worse. Your child may have trouble breathing, eating, drinking, talking, or opening his mouth. Jaw fracture may also cause bleeding, deformity, or infection.

If not treated early, permanent injury such as nerve damage or paralysis, may happen. Early diagnosis and treatment of jaw fracture is very important. Call your child's caregiver if you have concerns about his fracture, treatment, or care.

WHILE YOU ARE HERE:

Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that your child may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your child's medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done to your child. Make sure all of your questions are answered.

Activity:

At first your child may need to rest in bed. Your child's caregiver will tell you when it is OK to get him out of bed. Call your child's caregiver before getting him up for the first time. If he ever feels weak or dizzy, have him sit or lie down right away.

Diet:

  • Your child may not be able to eat solid food for a period of time. He may only be allowed to drink liquids to rest his jaw. He may need to use a straw to drink if his upper and lower teeth are wired together. Ask your child's caregiver 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. Liquids may be the only things your child may be able to swallow. He may drink water, broth, apple juice, or soda. He may also suck on ice chips or eat gelatin.

  • As he improves, your child may be given soft foods that are easier to bite, chew, or swallow. Some examples are applesauce, baby food, bananas, cooked cereal, cottage cheese, eggs, pudding, and yogurt. Ask your caregiver for more information about what foods or liquids your child is allowed to eat or drink.

Emotional support:

Stay with your child for comfort and support as often as possible while he is in the hospital. Ask another family member or someone close to the family to stay with your child when you cannot be there. Bring items from home that will comfort your child, such as a favorite blanket or toy.

An IV

is a small tube placed in your child's vein that is used to give him medicine or liquids.

Medicines:

Your child may need one or more of the following:

  • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to help prevent or treat an infection caused by bacteria.

  • Antinausea medicine: This medicine may be given to calm your child's stomach and control vomiting (throwing up).

  • Pain medicine: Your child may need medicine to take away or decrease pain. Know how often your child should get the medicine and how much. Watch for signs of pain in your child. Tell caregivers if his pain continues or gets worse. To prevent falls, stay with your child to help him get out of bed.

  • Tetanus shot: This medicine keeps your child from getting tetanus. It is given as a shot. Your child should have a tetanus shot if he has not had one in the past 5 to 10 years. Your child's arm can get red, swollen, and sore after getting this shot.

Mouth cleaning:

You may need to help clean your child's mouth 4 to 6 times a day. Cleaning your child's mouth will remove pieces of food and clean his teeth. A water pik or a small soft toothbrush will work well to clean your child's mouth. Ask your caregiver on how to properly clean your child's mouth.

Tests:

Your child may need one or more of the following:

  • Computerized tomography scan: This is also called a CT or CAT scan. A special x-ray machine uses a computer to take pictures of your child's jaw. It may be used to look at your child's bones, muscles and brain. Your child may be given dye to drink or in an IV before the pictures are taken. The dye may help your child's caregiver see the pictures better. People who are allergic to iodine or shellfish may be allergic to some dyes. Tell your child's caregiver if he is allergic to shellfish, or has other allergies or medical conditions.

  • Magnetic resonance imaging scan: This test is also called an MRI. An MRI uses magnetic waves to take pictures of your child's jaw. During an MRI, pictures are taken of his bones, brain, or blood vessels. He will need to lie still during an MRI. Never enter the MRI room with an oxygen tank, watch, or any other metal objects. This may cause serious injury.

  • X-rays: Your child may need to have x-rays of his skull, jaw, or spine taken to check for broken bones or other problems. X-rays will tell how bad and where the fracture is. It will also help caregivers see how your child's face is healing.

Treatment options:

Your child may need one or more of the following:

  • Aiding devices: Wires, elastic bands, splints, and bandages may be used to support your child's jaw. This will help the jaw bone heal the right way.

  • Irrigation and debridement: This is done when the jaw fracture has an open wound. This cleans and removes objects, dirt, or dead tissues from the fracture area.

  • Surgery: Your child may need surgery to return the jawbone to its normal position if the fracture is severe. Surgery may also be needed to correct a deformity or fix damaged tissues underneath the jaw. Wires, pins, plates, splints, or screws may be used to hold the jawbone together. Complications, such as an injury to the gums, tongue, nerve, or blood vessel, may also be treated with surgery.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

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.

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