The maxilla is a combination of two bones and forms the upper jawbone. Direct facial trauma can lead to certain maxillary injuries in this area, and also in the lower jaw (the mandible; please find our mandibular injury article for more details). Such strikes to the face often occur in sports, and the most widespread maxillary injuries are fractures (transmaxillary, pyramidal, craniofacial dissociation) and damage to soft tissue in the face.
Symptoms of Maxillary Injury
If you experience any of the following symptoms you should seek immediate medical assistance, especially if they follow on from a facial impact. A wound to the mouth or face should be taken seriously, as should any bleeding. Other common symptoms include bruises around the jaw or cheeks, and problems with walking or standing that are caused by feelings of dizziness or vertigo. Some people find swelling around the eyes and loss of vision, strange reactions to light, or floaters (such as specks or webs) swirling in their eyes. You might feel nauseous, vomit, or even have a seizure. Breathing problems are a major concern, and other difficulties in the jaw and mouth can manifest in an inability to talk or open your mouth properly. Immediately notable injuries include a dislocated jaw and fractures to the cheekbones or nose. Skin infections can arise in the affected area.
Causes of Maxillary Injury
The most prominent cause of maxillary injuries is a single hard blow to the face. This trauma can come from a participant in a sport, particularly fast paced contact sports such as ice hockey or rugby, or a projectile like a bat, puck or cricket ball. Falling flat onto the jawbone or face is another cause, and this can occur in sports that involve heights like cycling or jumping, plus during any high speed activity. Other incidents that can provoke the injury outside sport include car accidents and fighting. In sports like boxing and martial arts, an unprotected head could potentially lead to a maxillary injury.
Medical Treatment for Maxillary Injury
It is crucial to consult a doctor at the earliest possible time. Having first examined the injuries and ordered appropriate scans like an x-ray or MRI, they will want to close the wounds within 24 hours of the injury being sustained. In terms of bleeding it is also important to apply pressure to any profusely bleeding wounds at the scene of the injury in order to stop the bleeding. The treatment that the doctor recommends will vary depending on the particular maxillary fracture, and which other parts of the face were damaged. In most cases pain medication is beneficial, and open or closed reductions are used regularly to attend to a fractured maxilla.
Complications of Maxillary Injury
The doctor will explain the risk of complication for your specific condition. If you have sustained a transmaxillary fracture, the risk of infection and loss of teeth is generally increased. A pyramidal maxillary fracture might interfere with processes of the eye such as tear formation, and can lead to double vision. This type of fracture can also be more difficult to fix in terms of bone union. A craniofacial dissociation is a major injury that can be associated with serious damage to the skull and the brain.
- articular cartilage damage
- auricular haematoma
- dental damage
- lens dislocation
- mandibular injury
- maxillary injury
- neck pain
- perforated eardrum
- skull fracture
- temporomandibular injury
- vitreous haemorrhage