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Jaw Fracture in Children
A jaw fracture
is a break in your child's jawbone. It may take weeks or months for the jawbone to heal.
Common signs and symptoms of a jaw fracture:
- Bruising or swelling on the jaw, chin, lips, or gums
- Misshapen or crooked jaw, or jaw that has moved out of its normal position
- Missing or loose teeth
- Nausea or vomiting
- Pain or lump on the part of the jaw that is located below the ear
- Tingling or numbness on the chin or lower lip
- Trouble breathing, talking, eating, or opening his or her mouth
Seek care immediately 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.
- The wires or splints in your child's mouth are loose.
- You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.
will depend on the damage and the type of fracture. Most mild jaw fractures in children heal on their own. 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.
- Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask how to give this medicine to your child safely.
- Antibiotics may be given to help treat or prevent a bacterial infection if the bone broke through your child's skin.
- Devices such as wires, elastic bands, splints, and bandages may be used to support your child's jaw. They may also be used to keep the jaw from moving.
- Surgery may be needed to return the jawbone to its normal position if the fracture is severe. Pins, plates, and screws may be used to hold the jawbone together. Surgery may also be needed to correct a deformity or fix damaged tissues, such as the mouth, tongue, nerves, or blood vessels.
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.
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.
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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.
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