A Dental Student’s Guide to…mandible fractures


This month Hannah Hook explores mandible fractures, how you can diagnose and work out the place the fracture is, in addition to how you can deal with it.

While it’s unlikely that you will notice a affected person current with a mandible fracture on the whole observe, if working in a hospital function you’ll undoubtedly encounter a couple of of those.

You will need to perceive the indicators and signs of a mandible fracture. In addition to how you can assess a affected person and the therapy choices you’ll be able to supply.

As proven beneath in Determine 1, there are numerous areas wherein a mandible might fracture. These embody:

  • Symphysis and parasymphysis
  • Physique
  • Angle and ramus
  • Condylar course of and head
  • Coronoid course of
  • Alveolar space.
mandible fractures
Determine 1: Produced by AO to display the completely different fracture areas on a mandible


  1. Historical past
  • How did it occur? Alleged assault/sports activities harm/motor accident
  • Aetiology might assist to point fracture sort and severity
  • Any lack of consciousness? Does the affected person want additional evaluation for a head harm?
  • When? Research have proven that the probability of an infection on the fracture website decreases the faster antibiotics are given.
  1. Bodily examination
  • While mandible fractures can happen in isolation, extra generally there will probably be a second fracture bilaterally. You will need to keep in mind this when assessing a affected person to ensure a second fracture isn’t missed.
  • Assess mouth opening – is it decreased or restricted?
  • Palpate TMJ – any ache?
  • Palpate alongside the decrease border of the mandible – any bony tenderness or any bony steps palpable?
  • Look at mandibular department of the trigeminal nerve – any numbness or altered sensation?
  • Deviation of the mandible on opening? This may increasingly point out a condyle fracture
  • Any seen delicate tissue lacerations? Sublingual haematoma normally signifies an underlying bony fracture
  • Any dental trauma? Any lacking tooth? Is a chest X-ray required?
  • Any adjustments in occlusion – does the occlusion really feel regular for the affected person?
  • Any step deformity on the occlusion?
  • Lacerations or gaps between tooth? Bear in mind to rely the tooth, a fracture website might seem like a tooth socket!
  • Any flexing of the mandible?
  • Any unfastened tooth?
  1. Radiographic examination
  • Two views are required, these are normally an OPG and a PA mandible
  • CT scan – normally indicated if fractures are advanced or comminuted.

Fast administration

  • Fast administration of a affected person with a fractured mandible goals to make them as snug as attainable
  • Ensure that they’re taking common ache reduction
  • Perform bridal wiring of the fracture beneath native anaesthetic. This may also help to approximate the fracture edges, decreasing the fracture website and offering stabilisation of the fracture, and due to this fact enhance affected person consolation.

To bridle wire a fracture

  • Ensure that the affected person is sufficiently anaesthetised with native anaesthetic
  • Utilizing an artery clip a skinny piece of wire roughly 0.35-0.45mm handed interproximally between the second nearest tooth to the fracture website, looped across the again of the tooth lingually and handed interproximally between the second nearest tooth on the opposite facet of the fracture website
  • The 2 ends of the wire, which are actually buccal, are twisted collectively and the fracture website will steadily scale back
  • As soon as the fracture is decreased and stabilised as a lot as attainable the free wire is lower off sparing about 5-10mm. That is then curved over to stop mucosal trauma.

Fracture administration

  1. Conservative administration


  • Single secure undisplaced fracture of the condyle/ramus/angle
  • Secure occlusion
  • Compliant affected person with good oral hygiene.


  • No intervention required
  • Affected person to comply with recommendation beneath.
  1. Surgical administration


  • Unstable fracture
  • Altered occlusion
  • Non-compliant affected person.


  • Closed discount (CR): scale back the fracture with out having to boost a flap. Use inter-maxillary fixation to approximate the fracture strains. These embody archbars and Leonard’s buttons. Elastic bands (like those utilized in orthodontics) might assist stabilise the occlusion within the desired place
  • Open discount inside fixation (ORIF): visualise the fracture strains by making an incision into the pores and skin or mucous membrane. Then repair the fracture utilizing steel plates. Shut collectively the pores and skin or mucous membrane flap over the plate
  • Following CR or ORIF, the affected person nonetheless must comply with the recommendation beneath.


  • Common ache reduction
  • Antibiotics
  • Smooth no chewing eating regimen
  • Avoiding strenuous or bodily actions for six weeks
  • Wonderful oral hygiene
  • Common chlorhexidine or heat salt water mouth wash
  • Common evaluation with the OMFS division.

Key factors

  • An intensive evaluation of the affected person is crucial when diagnosing a mandible fracture. This contains historical past, bodily examination and radiographic examination
  • Fast administration of the fracture by offering ache reduction, native anaesthetic and bridle wiring may also help enhance affected person consolation
  • Relying on the kind of fracture, clinicians can handle it conservatively or surgically.

Meet up with earlier pupil’s guides:

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