Jaw Injuries and Disorders

Your jaw is a set of bones that holds your teeth. It consists of two main parts. The upper part is the maxilla. It doesn’t move. The moveable lower part is called the mandible. You move it when you talk or chew. The two halves of the mandible meet at your chin. The joint where the mandible meets your skull is the temporomandibular joint.A photograph of a man's jaw

Jaw problems include

  • Fractures
  • Dislocations
  • Temporomandibular joint dysfunction
  • Osteonecrosis, which happens when your bones lose their blood supply
  • Cancers

Treatment of jaw problems depends on the cause.

Joint Disorders

A joint is where two or more bones come together, like the knee, hip, elbow, or shoulder. Joints can be damaged by many types of injuries or diseases, including

  • Arthritis – inflammation of a joint. It causes pain, stiffness, and swelling. Over time, the joint can become severely damaged.
  • Bursitis – inflammation of a fluid-filled sac that cushions the joint
  • Dislocations – injuries that force the ends of the bones out of position

Treatment of joint problems depends on the cause. If you have a sports injury, treatment often begins with the RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) method to relieve pain, reduce swelling, and speed healing. Other possible treatments include pain relievers, keeping the injured area from moving, rehabilitation, and sometimes surgery. For arthritis, injuries, or other diseases, you may need joint replacement surgery to remove the damaged joint and put in a new one.

Juvenile Arthritis

Juvenile arthritis (JA) is arthritis that happens in children. It causes joint swelling, pain, stiffness, and loss of motion. It can affect any joint, but is more common in the knees, hands, and feet. In some cases it can affect internal organs as well.

The most common type of JA that children get is juvenile idiopathic arthritis. There are several other forms of arthritis affecting children.

One early sign of JA may be limping in the morning. Symptoms can come and go. Some children have just one or two flare-ups. Others have symptoms that never go away. JA can cause growth problems and eye inflammation in some children.

No one knows exactly what causes JA. Most types are autoimmune disorders. This means that your immune system, which normally helps your body fight infection, attacks your body’s own tissues.

JA can be hard to diagnose. Your health care provider may do a physical exam, lab tests, and x-rays. A team of providers usually treats JA. Medicines and physical therapy can help maintain movement and reduce swelling and pain. They may also help prevent and treat complications.