Fractured Upper Jaw (Maxilla)

The maxilla may also be referred to as the ‘upper jaw’.

Maxillary fractures are relatively uncommon and usually result in pain, swelling, limited movement and a change in occlusion (or ‘bite’). On some occasions, teeth may be dislodged as a result of a maxillary fracture. Some people may also experience a change in sensation (feeling) of the teeth in the maxilla or the skin of the cheek and upper lip as a result of a maxillary fracture.

Maxillary fractures may occur at different levels of the face. A common classification system for maxillary fractures was devised by Henri Le Fort around the turn of the 20th century. Depending upon the level of the maxillary fracture various other bones may also be broken and different treatment required.

Often maxillary fractures will require admission to hospital and surgery to align the fractured bone with the other facial bones, which are then held in position by plates and screws or wires. The goal of the surgery is to re-establish the dental occlusion and return the alignment of the bone to that which existed prior to the break occurring.

During the operation your teeth will be held together in their correct bite. This may involve the placement of screws between your teeth to allow wire fixation, or wiring a metal band, called an Arch Bar, around the maxillary and mandibular teeth to allow wiring of the jaws together. Most maxillary fractures can be treated without the requirement for your jaws to be wired together after surgery, although elastic bands, similar to those used by Orthodontists, may be used over the healing period to ensure your bite remains in the correct position.