How to treat a broken jaw – Keith Rivers

Keith Rivers is having a great rookie year for an awful Cincinnati Bengals football team. He’s second on the team in tackles and has been a much needed youth movement on defense. His rookie year has come to and end with a broken jaw. The broken jaw was suffered in a game on October 20, 2008 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The hit that caused the broken jas was delivered by Hines Ward and is thought to be a dirty hit. If the Bengals weren’t winless this story would have more legs.

Broken jaws are no fun and take a while to recover from, especially if you’re hoping to get back into a contact sport like football. Most broken jaws are caused by automobile accidents, but blunt trauma, such as getting blindsided on the field, contribute almost half to the cause. Still, sports only contribute about 10% of the overall instances of broken jaws. The technical term for a a broken jaw is mandible fracture.

What are the symptoms of a broken jaw? Pain is a big one. The pain is constant, throbbing and sharp. There might be facial deformity where it looks as if your jaw either protrudes or indents. The injury is going to cause swelling on the side of the face where the jaw bone is broken. In more serious cases, the tongue may slip back into the mouth and cause breathing problems.You are going to know you have a broken jaw.

How do you diagnose a broken jaw? A physical examination is a good start, but a CT scan is perfect at identifying which bones are broken. Wait a minute. There’s more than one bone? You know it. There are two, maxilla and the mandible. There are also different sections of those two bones. The CT scan will tell you what section is affected.

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What is the treatment of a broken jaw? Depending on the severity of the injury surgery might be called for. After surgery the jaw will be wired shut, which means you’ll have your jaw anchored by the teeth on both side.

How long does it take a broken jaw to heal? It’s going to take about six weeks for the jaw to heal and then a couple of weeks after for any outstanding dental work. The great thing, and yes that’s sarcastic, is that you’re going to be eating with a straw the whole time.

Keith is a great guy, so it’s a shame to see his rookie season end on this note. Here’s a great video of him being drafted:

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