You Have a Jaw Fracture: How to Handle the Healing Process

A jaw fracture is a painful injury that’s a common result of facial trauma.

You might have fractured your upper jaw, lower jaw or both. After you see an oral surgeon and get the care you need, you’ll have to nurse your injury until you’re fully healed.


What does the surgery and recovery process entail?

What Type of Treatment Was Needed?

Your oral surgeon’s treatment approach varies depending on the extent of your injury. Ultimately, your oral surgeon decides how to treat the jaw fracture using the method that will restore normal jaw function as best as possible.

In some cases, you may only need your jaw wired shut until the bone has a chance to heal. On the other hand, some injuries require oral surgeons to expose the damaged bone and realign the bone fragments using plates or screws.

If you have no added complications, you can expect a straightforward jaw fracture to heal within six weeks, but each injury is unique.

There are a few things you can do to help your body heal more quickly, however.

Managing Pain

Surgery for a jaw fracture will lessen the pain from your injury. However, your teeth may be overly sensitive and you’ll still have to actively manage pain for the first week, though it will likely improve within five days following surgery.

You will be given a prescription painkiller, but you can also take over-the-counter medication like ibuprofen. Make sure you follow the guidelines for each medication — don’t drink alcohol, drive or exceed the recommended dosage amount.

Dealing with Swelling

Your face will probably swell the first three days after jaw surgery. You can reduce swelling by keeping your head elevated and sleeping in a partially upright position. If the swelling hasn’t gone down by the fifth day, it could signal infection, so call your oral surgeon and report the symptoms.

Changing Your Diet

A liquid diet is essential — you must limit all jaw movement during the healing process. Follow a liquid diet even if your jaw isn’t wired shut.

Some items on your new menu could include smoothies, milkshakes, yogurt, pureed fruits and vegetables, soups or scrambled eggs. Once your doctor assesses your progress around week six of your recovery, you may be able to add solid foods if your jaw fracture is healing correctly.

Keeping Your Mouth Clean

Oral hygiene is more difficult to manage, but it’s vitally important for a fast recovery. Gently brush your teeth after each meal. Also rinse your mouth with warm salt water after every snack.

The team at Northeast Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery can treat your jaw fracture and guide you through the recovery process with the care and attention you need to heal quickly. Call today for an appointment.