Pet Dentistry: Fractured Jaw

In veterinary practices, jaw fractures are a common phenomenon. Usually, they are caused by trauma such as being hit by a car, suffering an attack from another animal or even simply misjudging a stair height. Sometimes, jaw fractures are caused by complications in a tooth extraction procedure. Each jaw fracture is unique and consequently, may require a different treatment. X-rays can identify where the fracture(s) exist and what treatment would be appropriate.

In order to allow your pet recover a little from the trauma, it is not uncommon to provide supportive aid (fluids, pain medications, etc.) prior to surgery. Jaw fracture stabilization and repair is often performed with wire and acrylic splinting. These splints are minimally invasive, meaning they often do not require incisions or placement of pins to put the pieces of bone back together. After treatment, your pet will need softened food and no access to chew toys. The splint will allow your pet to continue many of their usual activities and partake in walks. Continual care for the splint will be required such as flushing, checking for cracks, etc.

Typically, after six to 12 weeks, the splint can be removed if radiographs (x-rays) show a healed jaw. In general, the prognosis for jaw fractures is excellent.