As with maxilla fractures, these injuries are usually caused by a direct blow. Aside from segmental fractures, which would in most cases be managed in a similar manner to maxillary fractures, the three most common mandibular fractures are body, ramus and condylar fractures. These are illustrated in the image below.
Often, the fracture can be predicted from the nature of the facial blow. For example, a severe blow to the chin point is most likely to result in a fracture at either the point of contact and/or in the condyle area. A blow to the side of the face often results in a fracture at either the point of contact and/or the contralateral condyle or ramus. As these secondary fractures – away from the point of contact – can readily be missed, proper radiographic imaging is imperative.
A common point of fracture is in the area of any impacted wisdom tooth (third molar). Some studies have cited a two-to-four-times greater incidence of mandibular fracture in athletes with impacted wisdom teeth. 4,5 Athletes in contact sports such as football should consider having impacted wisdom teeth removed during the close season.
The mandible (jawbone) is the largest strongest and lowest bone in the face.
The three most common fracture sites are the body ramus and condyle.
An undisplaced left angle fracture.
An undisplaced fracture on the body of the mandible.
A left sided ramus fracture.
Dr Paul Piccininni
Sport, Cosmetic and Restorative Dentistry