A person with a broken or dislocated jaw needs requires medical attention right away. This is because they may have breathing problems or bleeding. Call your local emergency number (such as 911) or a local hospital for further advice.
Hold the jaw gently in place with your hands on the way to the emergency room. You can also wrap a bandage under the jaw and over the top of the head. The bandage should be easy to remove in case you need to vomit.
At the hospital, if you have breathing problems, heavy bleeding occurs, or severe swelling of your face, a tube may be placed into your airways to help you breathe.
Treatment for a fractured jaw depends on how badly the bone is broken. If you have a minor fracture, it can heal on its own. You may only need pain medicines. You will probably have to eat soft foods or stay on liquid diet for a while.
Surgery is often needed for moderate to severe fractures. The jaw may be wired to the teeth of the opposite jaw to keep the jaw stable while it heals. Jaw wires are usually left in place for 6 to 8 weeks. Small rubber bands (elastics) are used to hold the teeth together. After a few weeks, some of the elastics are removed to allow motion and reduce joint stiffness.
If the jaw is wired, you can only drink liquids or eat very soft foods. Have blunt scissors readily available to cut the elastics in the event of vomiting or choking. If the wires must be cut, call your health care provider right away so they can be replaced.
If your jaw is dislocated, a doctor may be able to place it back into the correct position using the thumbs. Numbing medicines (anesthetics) and muscle relaxants may be needed to relax the jaw muscles.
Afterward, your jaw may need to be stabilized. This usually involves bandaging the jaw to keep the mouth from opening widely. In some cases, surgery is needed to do this, particularly if repeated jaw dislocations occur.
After dislocating your jaw, you should not open your mouth widely for at least 6 weeks. Support your jaw with one or both hands when yawning and sneezing.