Q: My son has suffered a fracture to his jaw playing football. How is this treated and will he have scars?
A: Sports injuries are the third most common cause of jaw (or mandible) fractures after motor vehicle accidents and assaults. Mandible fractures are treated with either “closed” or “open” techniques. To treat the fracture “closed,” the upper and lower jaws will be wired together for four to eight weeks depending on your son’s age. This means your son will need to be on a liquid diet during this period. To treat the fracture “open,” incisions will be made in the overlying skin and the bones are held together with titanium screws and bone plates. These incisions can usually be placed inside the mouth, so any scar will be hidden. This will allow your son to open and close his mouth normally; however, the plates and screws are very small so your son still must not chew solid food. No activity is allowed that may result in a blow to the face, so that means no football for eight weeks regardless of the treatment method used. The best treatment option will be determined with your son’s oral surgeon.
Karl Meyer, DDS, M.D.
East Brainerd Oral Surgery
1350 Mackey Branch Drive, Suite 110
Chattanooga, TN 37421