Jaw Fracture or Dislocation


The jaw is a very important part of the body and it vital for people to have the ability to breathe, eat and talk. Any jaw pain can make it difficult or inhibit these everyday functions. Pain can be caused by many conditions but a fractured jaw can be a common one which you may not be aware you even have.


The jaw consists of two bones, the maxillary (upper jaw) and the mandible (lower jaw) which work together to function properly. The mandible is responsible for most mouth functions like opening and closing the mouth and eating. When a bone cracks or breaks it is known as a fracture. A fractured jaw is the 3rd most common type of facial break after the nose and cheek. A fractured jaw bone can be caused by injuries such as falls, sports injuries, or car accidents. If you think you may have fractured you jaw it is important to book an appointment here at Smile Hub Dental Clinic to get it examined.


A fractured jaw is different to a dislocated jaw but they are both serious and it can be hard to tell the difference between them. A dislocation happens when the mandible moves out of alignment at the TMJ.


Signs of a fractured jaw

  • Swelling, bruising or numbness of the face
  • Pain or stiffness in the jaw
  • Bleeding from the mouth
  • Loose or Broken teeth


Signs of a dislocated jaw

  • Difficulty talking
  • Not being able to close your mouth
  • Teeth or bite are misaligned or the jaw is protruding


An injury to the jaw is an emergency and should be treated as soon as possible. Until you get to a dentist or doctor, make sure to stabilize your jaw and ensure that you can breathe. If the fracture is severe it may need surgery or for your jaw to be wired shut but most jaw breaks heal by themselves if the movement of it is limited for some time. The recovery time for a fractured jaw can be at least 6 weeks.


If you have dislocated your jaw the doctor or dentist may be able to move it back into position using the hands to relax that jaw. In more severe cases surgery is the best option for a full recovery.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does a fractured jaw take to heal?

It depends on how severe the fracture is and if it needs treatment or not. A jaw fracture will usually heal in 6 weeks to 2 months.

Can a broken jaw fix itself?

If it is a clean break then the jaw can usually heal by itself without treatment. For it to heal properly there must be limited movement in the jaw. If the break if severe then the jaw will more than likely need surgery and to be wired shut for it to heal. During this time a patient may have to have a liquid diet.

What happens if you leave a broken jaw untreated?

It is very important to treat a broken jaw as it will be very difficult to eat or talk and can cause a lot of pain. If a fractures jaw is left untreated it can have long term effects and lead to other problems. It can lead to you not being able to open and close your mouth properly. This could then lead to arthritis, TMJ and tooth decay.

Can you break your upper jaw?

It is possible to break the mandible which is the upper jaw but it usually considered a facial fracture. This can happen due to a blunt force or trauma to the face such a being hit with a bat or a punch.

Is a dislocated jaw an emergency?

A dislocated jaw is an emergency and needs to be seen to as soon as it happens. It is serious as it can affect breathing and can also cause severe bleeding. Book an emergency dental appointment or go to A&E straight away. Hold your jaw in place and make sure you are able to breath before you get to the dentist or hospital.

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