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Jaw Fracture in Children
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
A jaw fracture is a break in your child's jawbone. It may take weeks or months for the jawbone to heal.
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 or she 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.
Contact your child's healthcare provider if:
- Your child has a fever.
- Your child has pain, even after he or she 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.
Your child may need any of the following:
- Acetaminophen decreases pain. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to give your child and how often to give it. Follow directions. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly.
- NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and 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 or her. 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 healthcare provider.
- 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. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her 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:
Your child may need to see a specialist to fix damaged or broken teeth. Treatment may also be needed if your child's upper and lower teeth are not aligned properly because of the injury. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Manage your child's jaw fracture:
- 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 before you place it on your child's face. Apply ice for 15 to 20 minutes every hour or as directed.
- Your child's healthcare provider will tell you what to feed your child. If your child's jaw is wired, he or she will need to eat foods that have been blended with liquids. Some examples of liquids you can use are milk, fruit juice, and vegetable juice. The liquids should not have chunks or pulp. Your child will have to eat these foods through a syringe or straw. If your child's mouth is not wired, he or she may need to eat only soft foods. Some examples are applesauce, bananas, cooked cereal, cottage cheese, gelatin, pudding, and yogurt.
- Help your child clean his or her mouth 4 to 6 times each day. Use a small, soft toothbrush. A water flosser can also help remove food and particles from between the teeth. Apply petroleum jelly to your child's lips to keep them from becoming chapped. Ask your child's healthcare provider for information about mouth care.
- Your child may need more rest while he or she heals. Quiet play will keep your child busy and lower the risk for more injury. Have your child read or draw quietly. Ask your child's healthcare provider how much rest your child needs and when he or she can return to regular activities.
- Do not let your child play sports while the jaw heals. The 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.
- Tell your child not to put pressure on the healing jaw. He or she should not push on the jaw or let anything push on it. Have your child sleep on his or her back.
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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.
Learn more about Jaw Fracture in Children (Aftercare Instructions)
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