Jaw Pain After a Fall: What your dentist says you should do
Many patients consult with dentists for treatment following a fall that results in facial trauma. Depending on the severity of the fall, a jaw fracture can occur. If you fail to pursue treatment for a jaw fracture, the long-term effects can be very detrimental. Your ability to chew and speak may be compromised, and your appearance can be affected, as well.
Ideally, you should visit a dentist as soon as possible after experiencing the fall. Nonetheless, dentists often encounter patients who wait until symptoms emerge before seeking treatment. If you have persistent pain, you should schedule an evaluation to see if your jaw has been fractured.
If your dentist suspects a fracture, you may be referred to an oral surgeon. The oral surgeon will examine your jaw both visually and using x-rays.
The location and severity of the fracture will determine the course of treatment. The oral surgeon may be able to set a simple fracture merely by manipulating the bones back into their correct positions without making an incision. The surgeon may need to use wires to hold the jaws in place until healing is complete.
If you are diagnosed with a fracture, you may need some sort of surgery to set or fix the jaw as it heals. With more complex fractures, a surgical intervention may be warranted to place plates and or screws in the jaw to aid with healing. This is why it’s important to seek treatment so quickly before the bones begin to grown into incorrect positions.
Even if your jaw is not fractured, you still can develop a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder following a fall, and that can cause discomfort, too. The oral surgeon may be able to recommend pain management techniques or treatment options in these cases, too.
Patients who suffer any type of facial injury after a fall should be evaluated by a dentist or oral surgeon to see if there is any significant damage, regardless of the amount of pain that is present. Taking action quickly can help to preserve your jaw’s ability to function in the long term. Contact the Charlottesville office of Dr. Carlos Ibanez at 434-295-0911 for more information.