Dental Problems

Jaw Dislocation – Diagnosis and Treatment

The jawbone is the only movable joint in the face. It is called temporomandibular joint of the jaw and is referred to as TMJ. Two TMJs, each on the either side, work in unison to carry out the work of chewing and talking.

When the bones of the jaw are displaced or knocked out of the place it results in jaw dislocation.

Some of the causes of jaw dislocation are injury to the joint, yawning, yelling and taking in big morsels of foods. In this article, we shall know the diagnosis and treatment of jaw dislocation.

A person having jaw dislocation experiences symptoms such as swelling near joints, facial or jaw pain, inability to close the mouth, and asymmetry of the face. These symptoms are observed to diagnose mild dislocation. However, if the patient is taken to the physician, there is a detailed diagnosis.

Diagnosis of Jaw Dislocation:

A thorough examination of the above symptoms is the first step in diagnosis of jaw dislocation. The physician observes head, neck and the nerve supply. He further inspects the oral cavity for gingival lacerations, which may show up as a signal for an open fracture.

Tongue Blade Test:

A tongue base test is done in cases of jaw injury and to rule out jaw fracture. A tongue blade is placed between the molars and the patient is asked to bite it down. If the patient is able to twist the blade till it breaks, a mandibular fracture is unlikely. This test needs to be performed on both sides.

The physician performs examination of the central nervous system in all patients who are suspected of jaw dislocation. Especially cranial nerves V and VII are tested.

The specialist also inspects external auditory canal and assesses the hearing ability of the patient.

Treatment of Jaw Dislocation

Resetting the jaw joint:

Slight dislocation of the jaw is treated by resetting it back to its place. The doctor presses on the lower back molars with great force in a downward motion.

Ice packs:

Ice is applied for the first 12 to 24 hours of dislocation. It helps in reducing swelling and redness.

Heat packs:

Heat is applied for pain relief. It is done especially after 24 hours of dislocation.

Other things considered in treatment are

  • Jaw bandage
  • Injection of anesthetics
  • Eating soft foods
  • Avoiding yawning and yelling that may worse the condition
  • Avoiding opening the mouth wide

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