A broken jaw, known as a mandibular fraction, is an injury caused by such incidents as vehicular accidents, a fall, a sports injury or physical assault. The fracture is usually the result of a direct force or trauma to the face. A jaw fracture can either be a break in the upper jawbones or the lower jawbone or both and is characterised by a number of symptoms.
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Feeling pain in the face or jaw is the most common type of symptom of a broken jaw and gets worse with movement. A person who suffers from a broken jaw will feel an unpleasant sensation that is usually extremely painful around the jaw. This pain is caused by nerve stimulation in the jaw area and mouth. Bruising, swelling and tenderness may also be present along the jaw.
Malocclusion is a misalignment of opposing teeth in the upper and lower jaws when the jaw is closed. If someone is suffering from a broken jaw, they may find that there is a change in the way their teeth normally line up. This is the most obvious sign of a dislocated or fractured jaw, and it will cause pain, the jaw will not be able to open all the way, problems with speaking will occur, and the jaw may become swollen. Some teeth may also be missing or loose. This can also lead to drooling from not being able to close the mouth.
Numbness is another symptom of a broken jaw. Numbness in the chin or lower lip occurs due to damage to the inferior dental nerve that runs through the bone of the lower jaw and supplies feeling to these areas. The nerve, therefore, is unable to send signals to transmit sensory information from one part of the body to another. A break will damage the jaw section containing the tooth sockets and result in decreased blood supply to the area and produce an abnormal sensation, such as tingling or numbness.
Bruising under the Tongue
Another symptom that may indicate a broken jaw is bruising under the tongue and gums. The bruising is usually caused by damage to the lingual nerve, which passes very close to the tongue. Damage to this nerve can also cause irritating sensations and a temporary or permanent loss of taste.
Cut in the Ear Canal
Lacerations, or cuts, and tenderness in the ear canal may be a sign that there is injury to the jaw joint. The cut is usually caused by the broken jawbone moving backward. A cut in the ear will cause ear pain, known as otalgia.
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