Jaw Fractures: The Types & Treatments

Oral head trauma

Jaw fractures are typically seen in pets that have been hit by a car or have gotten into fights with other animals. Occasionally, they are seen in cases of severe periodontal disease. Our goal for repairing jaw fractures is to use non-invasive techniques, ideally resulting in early return to normal function. The most important goal in treating any jaw fracture is to make sure the teeth are aligned normally afterwards, so that your pet can eat normally.

After your pet has been involved in a traumatic event, we also want to make sure that they are systemically stable before we address their oral cavity. We may recommend delaying anesthesia to treat the oral disease by 24 to 48 hours in order to make sure that your pet is able to safely undergo anesthesia, and that any other injuries are treated. It is also important to look closely at your pet’s teeth after they have been through a traumatic event, to evaluate whether the injury affected their teeth. Please see our handout on broken teeth for more information.

There are many different repair techniques for broken jaws; the choice of technique depends on the location and severity of the fractures. Typically, wires and composite splints are bonded to the teeth to immobilize the fracture site. These wires and splints will need to be surgically removed after the fracture has healed. More complex jaw fractures may require special bone plates and other supportive measures.

The healing times vary greatly, but typically young puppies and dogs need anywhere from 2–6 weeks for healing. Many of our pet patients are able to eat normally the same evening after the procedure. Older dogs may require 6–12 weeks before the splints and wires can be removed. Please see our handout on Jaw Fracture Repair for more information.