Tooth pain Dentistry: Different causes and treatments

Medically Reviewed By
Jonathan G. Campbell, DDS, FAGD
One of the top rated Dentist in Salt Lake City, UT
A bright Lady in white T-shirt with Tooth Pain

A broken or dislocated jaw is an injury to one or both of the temporomandibular joints, which connect your lower jawbone to your skull. This joint can crack, break, or become unhinged from the skull, causing unhinged tooth pain.

When you have a broken, dislocated, or fractured jaw, you will likely have difficulty eating and breathing. In order to accelerate healing and mitigate complications, emergency dental treatment for pain is necessary.

If you are experiencing unhinged tooth pain and are located in or near Salt Lake City, Utah, contact us to schedule your appointment with Legacy Dental. Our dental team is trained in treating a variety of dental conditions, including unhinged tooth pain.

What Causes a Broken or Dislocated Jaw?

The primary cause of a broken or dislocated jaw is trauma to the face, including:
  • Vehicle accidents
  • Sports injuries
  • Assault to the face
  • Accidental falls in the home
  • Industrial/workplace accidents

What are the Symptoms of broken or dislocated teeth?

Broken Jaw

The indicators of a broken jaw include the following:

Dislocated Jaw

The indicators of a dislocated jaw are different than those of a broken jaw. Pain is part of it and may worsen when you try moving your mouth or body. Some other indications that you have a dislocated jaw include:

  • Jaw may appear to jut out, like an overbite
  • Teeth are misaligned and bite feels odd
  • Unable to close mouth completely, which may cause drooling
  • Difficulty speaking
In these cases, it might be necessary to find a TMJ specialist who can resolve the issue for your tooth pain.

Diagnosis of Broken or Dislocated Tooth

Your medical provider or dentist will be able to diagnose a broken or dislocated jaw by asking for your medical history, taking x-rays, and doing a physical exam. If it is a dislocation, it can be treated by a dentist or oral surgeon. On the other hand, if it’s a serious fracture, you may need a specialist, such as an oral surgeon or a

Treating Tooth Injuries

If you sustain a jaw injury of any kind, it will be treated as an emergency. While you wait for medical care, you’ll want to support your surrounding tooth to stabilize it and preserve your missing teeth.

Dislocated Jaw Treatment

If your tooth is loose, the doctor or dentist must manipulate it back into place. In some cases, it can be done manually. You will be given a local anesthetic and muscle relaxers to decrease the pain and help your muscles loosen up enough to allow it. In more severe cases, you may need surgery to tooth your jaw back in its proper position. You may also need dental implants.

Broken Jaw Treatment

Depending on the extent of the injury, a broken jaw or fracture may require surgery. A clean break should heal on its own when the jaw is immobilized. However, if you have multiple fractures or displaced breaks and the bone is pushed off to one side, you may need

Wiring Jaw Shut

If you have a broken or dislocated jaw, it will be wired shut during the recovery period. Your doctor or dentist may simply wrap a bandage around your head and/or under your chin to keep you from opening your jaw too wide. You will be given anti-inflammatory medications to control the pain and swelling.

Severe breaks may need to be wired to facilitate healing. Wires and elastic bands will be used to keep your jaw closed. You’ll want to keep a pair of scissors or wire cutters close by while you’re healing so that you can cut them open if you start choking or vomiting. If you do need to cut the wires, make sure to let your doctor know so that they can replace them quickly.

The recovery process takes patience. You will not be able to open your jaw very wide for at least 6 weeks. Your doctor will prescribe you antibiotics to prevent infection and painkillers to control the pain. You will be unable to chew solid food, so you will be on a liquid diet while recovering.

Soft Diet for Broken or Dislocated Tooth

While you are recovering from a broken or dislocated jaw, you’ll need to follow a soft food diet. Even if you have a minor dislocation or fracture that will heal on its own, you’ll want to avoid chewy or crunchy foods. Foods such as raw produce, crunchy snacks, and fresh meats may cause pain and strain your jaw. A soft diet can include the following:

  • Canned meats
  • Well-cooked rice
  • Well-cooked pasta
  • Canned fruit
  • Soup

If your jaw is wired shut, your diet will change even more drastically. Since you can’t open and close your mouth, you’ll need to stick to a liquid diet. Pureed foods made with cream or whole milk can increase the caloric content when necessary. By pureeing well-cooked meats, veggies, and fruits, you can get the protein and other nutrients you need to remain healthy. You can use soft grains like oatmeal or cream of wheat as the base for your meals.

You will likely need to eat more frequently than you’re used to. Instead of 3-4 meals daily, you’ll want to aim for 6- 8 smaller meals. You will be more likely to meet your required daily calorie requirement by eating smaller meals. Plus, when you’re drinking smoothies, it gives you a wider variety of flavors.

Cut back on diet sodas, tea, water, and coffee because they do not have any calories and will not help you maintain your weight. Drink more juice and milk to increase your calorie consumption.

Extreme temperatures may cause pain due to increased tooth sensitivity. Therefore, try eating lukewarm foods. You may consider eating baby food to accommodate your need for vitamins. Use water or milk to thin jarred foods, soups, and gravies if they’re too thick to drink through a straw.

Recovery & Outlook

For most people who experience a broken or dislocated jaw, the outlook is good. Most minor fractures and dislocations heal in about 4 to 8 weeks, but a fracture or break requiring surgery may take several months. Most of the time, the jaw will heal successfully with few long-term effects.

However, you are likely to have recurring jaw pain following an injury. This is known as a temporomandibular joint disorder, also called TMJ. You may also be at an increased risk of future dislocation.

Schedule Your Consultation Today

If you experience unhinged tooth pain or a broken/fractured jaw near Salt Lake City, Utah, contact the dental team at Legacy Dental. We can help fix a variety of dental problems.

Legacy Dental blog is proudly run by our Salt Lake City dentists team; We share knowledge about general dental care and practices. Apart from running this blog, we offer various dental services such as general dentistry, emergency dentistry, and dental implants for the community in Salt Lake City, Utah

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