Maxilla (Upper Jaw)

Maxilla (upper jaw) fracture occurs as a result of blunt trauma, car accidents, running into an object or assault. These fractures are also called jaw fractures or Le Fort I fracture.  Due to the complex anatomy within this region and the proximity to vital structures, including the brain, early diagnosis and precise treatment planning are of paramount importance. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons are qualified providers to perform surgery to correct broken jaws.

Illustration of a Maxilla (upper jaw) fracture

Here are the common questions asked about Le Fort Fractures:

Were you in an accident, altercation or involved in sports injuries and sustained facial trauma?

If for one reason or another you didn’t go the hospital for evaluation and you feel that your bite has changed, you should be evaluated to role out facial fractures. We are equipped with CT scans that will quickly show your entire facial bones and tell us if there are fractures needing attention.

What signs and symptoms do you look for in Le Fort I (Maxilla) fractures?

The most obvious and critical sign is the inability to bite down as you did before the injury. Your teeth are not coming together as they did prior to the accident. This is called malocclusion. Pain is the upper jaw areas are the second most common symptom of upper facial injuries. Here is the most common signs and symptoms.

  • Misaligned Jaw
  • Pain
  • nosebleeds.
  • bruising around your eyes and nose.
  • cheek swelling.
  • irregular shaping around your nose.
  • vision difficulties.
  • seeing double
  • numbness around your upper jaw

What happens if you don’t have surgery for a maxillary (upper jaw) fracture?

First and foremost, you should see an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon for an evaluation. We are able to determine if your fractures require immediate attention. Attending to facial fractures in a timely manner is the outmost important criteria for successful outcome. If the fracture is not attended to in a timely manner, the bones may heal in an unfavorable position. If that happens, the fractured bones may need to be refractured and placed in a favorable position. It is significantly easier to repair a fracture early on than once segments have fused.

Illustration of a Maxilla (upper jaw) fracture repair

X-rays of a Maxilla (upper jaw) fracture repair

How do you fix a fractured maxilla (upper jaw)?

Le Fort I (Maxilla) fractures are tedious and involved injuries. Only an Oral and Maxillofacial surgeon with surgical skills and in depth knowledge about dental structures should perform this type of surgery. Our patients with Le Fort fractures are admitted to the hospital. The procedure is performed under general anesthesia. Dr. Bolourian first carefully insures the jaws are aligned, he will then uses wires to stabilize the jaws in the correct position, that is called intermaxillary fixation (IMF). Then, he will use small titanium plates to stabilize the broken segments in the most ideal position. The entire procedure is performed from inside the mouth, so there are no visible scarring.

What type food can you eat if the upper jaw is fractured?

When upper jaw fractures, the jaws are wired shut temporarily. for 6-8 weeks a blended diet is recommended to allow bones to heal. If hard or chewy food is consumed, there is a chance of misalignment of the teeth and the need for secondary procedures to correct the bite.