Facial injuries are those involving the face, mouth or jaw. The injuries can range from relatively minor facial cuts and lacerations to serious injuries involving broken facial bones and teeth. Facial trauma is often the result of a motor vehicle accident, slip and fall accident, violent episode, work-related task or sports injury. Some facial injuries, such as a broken jaw, cause a great deal of pain and require extensive surgery to correct.
One of the most common facial bones to sustain a fracture is the mandible, or lower jawbone. The mandible is the strongest bone of the face, but it is also the largest and most prominent. Its location and lack of support make it susceptible to fractures. The mandible is a long horseshoe-shaped bone on both sides of the face. It angles up from the chin towards the ear and connects with the temporal bone of the face. Each side of the mandible ends near the ear with a rounded edge called a condyle. The jaw joint is known as the temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, and is located in front of the ear.
Fractures can occur anywhere along the lower jaw. A person who is struck on the jaw with a fist, pipe, stick, or other object usually has a single fracture. A person in a motor vehicle accident or other accident with a large amount of force distributed across the jaw usually develops two or more fractures.
The upper jawbone is called the maxilla. Maxillary fractures are significantly less common than mandibular fractures. The maxilla is a central support bone in the face. It forms the roof of the mouth, the floor of the nasal cavity, and the bottom of the eye socket. Because of this, blows to the maxilla may also affect the teeth, nose and eyes. Maxillary fractures are divided into three major categories:
- LeFort I Fracture is a horizontal crack across the maxilla that separates the maxilla and teeth from the bone above.
- LeFort II Fracture is a pyramid-shaped fracture that forms a line from the sides of the maxilla over the nose.
- LeFort III Fracture, the most severe of the three maxillary fractures, is a break in the eye socket and bridge of the nose.
Fractures to either the mandible or the maxilla are painful and may require many surgeries to correct. If you have suffered a jaw injury or other serious injury due to the negligence of another party, you need help. Contact Austin truck accident lawyer David Todd at 512-472-7799 for your free consultation. Additionally, you can download a free copy of the book How to Choose a Texas Truck Accident Lawyer for more information.