The maxilla is the bone on either side of the upper jaw, where the upper rows of teeth insert into.
The most common cause of maxillary fracture is due to trauma such as in a road traffic collision.
In general the signs are: swelling in the area, a loss of symmetry of the face and potentially the loss of teeth in the affected region. Occasionally a pocket of gas will develop under the skin. A maxillary fracture will also be painful.
Most of the time a physical examination performed by the veterinary surgeon will be sufficient to diagnose a maxillary fracture, but further imaging via x-rays or a CT scanner will be necessary to confirm the extent of the fracture.
The majority of fractures of the maxilla are stable and minimally displaced and can therefore be treated conservatively or with splinting. There are various treatment options depending on the severity of the fracture, ranging from non-surgical to surgical:
Postoperative care for animals with jaw fractures will include a soft food/liquid diet for a significant period of time whilst the fracture is healing. In some cases, a food tube is placed into the oesophagus to assist feeding. Daily rinsing of the mouth may also be needed to ensure the mouth is kept clean.
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