We have the ability to repair jaw fractures in several different ways:
- Maxillomandibular fixation, or MMF. This is the equivalent of having one’s jaw “wired shut”. The upper and lower teeth are fused together, which holds the jawbones in their proper places and allows them to heal with good alignment. There is usually a small space left between the upper and lower teeth. A feeding tube is placed while the MMF is present but many patients will learn to lap up food with their tongues. This is a common method of repair in cats. The MMF is usually left in place for 6-8 weeks.
- Intraoral composite splint. When there are a number of healthy teeth surrounding a jaw fracture, realigning the teeth and holding them in place with wire and a composite splint will keep the jawbone in its proper position and allow the bone to heal.
- Interfragmentary wiring. Wires are surgically placed to hold two bone fragments in alignment.
- Plates and screws. In specific cases, surgical placement of a titanium plate may be the best option for stabilization of a jaw fracture.