How to Prevent Jaw Injuries

Several things can harm the jaw, including falls, car accidents, physical injury, and fights. Surgery to realign the jaws may be required if either the upper or lower jaw is significantly injured. After the occurrence of an injury, jaw surgery can also assist in restoring the functionality of several jaw components. Here we talk about how to prevent jaw injuries, and what they may look like. 

Additionally, trauma can’t always manifest in a jaw injury or damage. If you unintentionally grip or grind your teeth (bruxism), have some other para-functional behaviors, or even have hereditary jaw problems, the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) may suffer, which can be very painful at the same time. In certain situations, jaw surgery could also be advised as a course of treatment if the injury is serious enough. However, most individuals with bruxism or a TMJ issue will follow a much more conservative treatment plan and only resort to surgical treatments if other measures are ineffective. Any aspect of the treatment involving non-surgical, as well as surgical procedures must be planned in consultation with an oral surgeon. Several common sense precautions can assist you in avoiding surgery and preventing jaw injuries. You can effectively reduce your risk of having a jaw injury by simply doing the following things:

Using the Jaw for the Right Reasons

Try using the jaw only for the purpose it was made for in the first place, which was to eat and chew food. Avoid opening hard items like cans, bottles, and non-food items from your mouth, as it can weaken your teeth and greatly harm your jaw. Our jaws are made for only one specific task, and using them for extensively difficult tasks can greatly deteriorate our health.

Keep Your Living Space Free

Make sure your living space is free of all kinds of tripping and slipping hazards as they play a major role in injuries, especially pertaining to jaw and teeth. If you have cleaned your living space from all kinds of tripping hazards, you have avoided a lot of jaw injuries. Slipping and tripping are major causes and reasons for a person having a jaw injury.

Wear a Mouth Guard for Sports Activities

Wearing a mouthguard in all of your sports activities if you are a sports person also helps mitigate a lot of jaw injuries. Not only do mouthguards protect your jaws, but they also help mediate the effects of concussions. It becomes crucial for individuals who regularly participate in such activities to take care of their teeth and jaws.

Treat Other Oral Issues Immediately

If you have any signs and symptoms of medical illnesses like hypoglycemia, hypotension, neurogenic causes of syncope, or inner ear vestibular problems, get them diagnosed, treated, and avoided to prevent jaw injuries or problems further. 

Manage Your Stress and Anxiety

Try to manage and alleviate your mood through a healthy lifestyle, hobbies, and meditation, as stress also greatly contributes to issues like bruxism, which can further lead to jaw injuries and issues. Continuous stress and anxiety can also lead to several medical issues and even contribute to the chances of slipping and tripping into a cloudy and overcrowded mind. 


Jaw injuries can be caused for several reasons and can also be severe in many cases. Therefore, it is essential to avoid and prevent jaw injuries through necessary actions to avoid pain and discomfort.

However, if you have already experienced a jaw injury and looking for the best treatment solution, feel free to contact our experts at the Shawn B. Davis, DMD Oral & Facial Surgery Institute for the most professional treatment and cure. 

Treating Cleft Lip & Palate

Cleft lip and palate is a facial and oral malformation from when the facial structure fails to complete during prenatal development. Detected in early pregnancy, clefting occurs due to a lack of lip and mouth tissues. It can also occur when muscles fail to connect.

A cleft lip is a narrow separation in the upper lip skin, while cleft palate involves the roof of the mouth. Typically, genes are the primary cause, but smoking, diabetes, and the use of certain medications can also cause clefting.

Cleft lip and palate may be an unattractive deformity, but people suffering from the issue can treat and correct it through surgery. In most cases, medical procedures can reinstate normal functionality and appearance with little to no scarring.


Typically, cleft lip and palate can be identified at the time of birth, but you can also see it during the ultrasound in early pregnancy. In both cases, you don’t require conducting special tests and scans for diagnosis.

During the ultrasound around the 13th week of pregnancy, the doctor can detect the abnormality or defect in facial development. As the fetus continues to grow, the diagnosis for cleft lip can be much more accurate. However, cleft palate can’t be detected during pregnancy.  If clefting is diagnosed, then the doctor may conduct a fluid test to detect other kinds of birth defects.


Surgical procedures can help treat cleft lip and palate, which also improves their ability to talk, eat, hear and speak. It also helps removes the defect while giving them a normal appearance. Doctors involved in the treatment of cleft lip and palate includes:

  • Surgeon
  • ENT specialist
  • Pediatricians
  • Dentists
  • Orthodontists
  • Auditory specialists
  • Speech therapists
  • Counselor
  • Psychologists

Other than surgeries, patients may require therapies for further improvement and functioning of muscles.

Surgeries to correct cleft lip and palate depend on the severity and complexity of each case. Other than corrective surgeries, your doctor may recommend follow up surgeries for functionality improvement. They typically occur in the following manner:

Cleft lip repair—takes place within 3-6 months

It closes the separation in the lip by adding a new flap of tissues. The doctor will make an incision to stitch together the flap with the lip muscles. Nasal repair is also done at the same time.

Cleft palate repair —takes place within the first 12 months

Various medical procedures are used to repair the separation over the roof of the mouth. By making a small incision, the doctor repositions the muscles and tissues. It is then stitched together.

Follow-up surgeries — from two to late teenage

It consists of:

Ear Tube Surgery:

A cleft palate can cause hearing loss. This explains why doctors place additional ear tubes to reduce the risk of chronic ear fluid buildup.

Surgeries for appearance:

To improve the appearance of one’s mouth, lip, and nose, they opt for further surgery.

Your further may suggest further surgeries to treat the complications due to cleft lip and palate. It comprises of:

  • Feeding practices
  • Speech therapy
  • Orthodontic treatments
  • Treatment of ear infection
  • Psychological counseling
  • Addition of hearing aids

Top 3 Reasons for a Bone Graft

Bone grafts are one of the more common procedures that oral surgeons do because it is a relatively minor procedure that can carry with it a lot of potential benefits. Despite our image of bone as a solid and immovable material, your bones and body are constantly changing throughout our lives, often responding to changes in our bodies. One of the most frequently adjusting bones is the jawbone, and bone grafts can help improve several conditions. The technique involves a minor gum incision to access the bone and then to insert graft material, normally consisting of your own bone. The healing will encourage growth and enable your body to fill in for lost bone and soft tissue material. The question is, what are some of the main reasons this procedure is performed and how does a bone graft address those issues.


A Bone Graft Can Save Your Teeth


One of the major effects of periodontal disease, like gingivitis, is that in severe cases, it can cause bone loss. This bone loss can actually cause your teeth to become loose and to put you in danger of actually losing those teeth. However, a bone graft can actually help stop the loss of bone and actually regenerate the supply of material supporting the jaw. This will actually provide a boost to bone support, and it can be a big help in allowing you to retain your teeth.


Providing Options After Tooth Extraction


Bone grafts can also be a common part of another regular oral surgery, tooth extraction. The removal of a tooth obviously changes the landscape of the jaw and can cause other teeth to shift or become loose. Now, during tooth extraction, it’s quite normal to actually put bone graft material in the tooth socket to stabilize the jawline. This also can allow you to choose a dental implant down the road if you choose.


Ridge Augmentation – Restoring Your Natural Contour


One major concern that a lot of patients have after suffering any jaw altering side effect is how their smile looks. The feeling that your smile looks different can make many self-conscious. Thankfully, one of the major benefits of bone graft procedures is that it can be used to perform ridge augmentation. This fills in the areas around any indents and provides patients with a healthy and natural-looking smile that they can be proud of.


Bone grafts are a safe and common procedure that can help bolster teeth and return you to a natural-looking smile and can aid several periodontal ailments. Contact us today, and learn more now!

5 Tips to Keep Your Jaw Healthy as You Age

We all know aging is a natural part of life. And most of us start considering ways in which we can keep our bodies healthy as we age. We eat better. We step up our exercise routine. We even take extra vitamin supplements in the hopes that our bones and joints remain in healthy condition.


So why do so many of us take our jaws for granted?


We all know that tooth decay and gum disease can happen at any time—even if you’re older than 65. And most of us take preventative steps to combat it. But did you know that musculoskeletal conditions such as TMJD can occur in up to 12 percent of the U.S. population? And did you know that older Americans are particularly susceptible to it?


Don’t take the health of your jaws for granted. Here are 5 tips to keep them strong and healthy.


1.   Healthy Bones, Healthy Jaws


We all know calcium prevents osteoporosis. But most of us quickly forget that our jaws are also made of bone. As our bodies age, our ability to absorb calcium declines. Postmenopausal women in particular are more susceptible to bone disease and should strive for a calcium intake of at least 1200 mgs a day. But don’t think that men can’t be impacted by bone decay, either. Even if you think your intake is adequate, men between the ages of 45 and 70 should still try to ensure at least 1000 mgs of calcium each day; adjust your intake to 1200 mg.


2.   Stop Grinding Your Teeth!


Teeth grinding is a habit many of us are entirely aware of. That’s because it happens primarily at night while we’re asleep. But teeth grinding can also occur during times of stress and even in deep thought. It’s not just responsible for tooth damage. Headaches are just as common with tooth grinding and inevitably what goes for teeth will eventually affect your jaw, as well. Typically, your surgeon can identify signs of damaged teeth caused by grinding, and may even suggest Botox injections if the need is particularly drastic..


3.   Eat Clean. Eat Healthier


If you’re like most Americans, you’re probably already eating a balanced diet as you age. But that’s the key word: balance. Strive for a mixture of hard and soft foods for a healthy jaw, including calcium rich foods such as:


  • Almonds
  • Beans and lentils
  • Celery
  • Cheese
  • Milk
  • Oranges
  • Sardines
  • Seeds, nuts and grains
  • Tofu


4.   Give Your Jaw A Break


It’s common to recommend a course of regular jaw stretches for maximal health as we age. The problem comes when we overwork them. The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) can be overused by excessive talking, eating too many hard foods… even chewing gum! It needs time to rest. Don’t try to stretch your jaw for more than 10 minutes each morning and massage it regularly if you feel stiffness or tenderness.


5.   Visit Your Dentist More Frequently


It’s a good rule of thumb that most people under the age of 50 should visit their dentist at least once a quarter. But as we age, the resilience of our gums, jaw and teeth begins to fade slowly. As a result, you may need to find it necessary to visit your dentist or oral health specialist more often to keep your jaws at peak performance. Remember, it’s the health of your entire mouth you need to be concerned with as you age.


And you won’t get a chance to buy another one.


If you’re in Southern Utah and are concerned about the health of your jaw, you may be experiencing more than periodic discomfort. We can help. Find out more about Dr. Shawn Davis and his team at the Oral and Facial Surgery Institute.



What Could Cause My Sudden Jaw Pain?

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Dealing with any type of jaw pain can derail any day. There are many different reasons why you are suffering from sudden jaw pain. We are going to share some of the most reported types of pain in your jaw, and what you should do to alleviate the suffering. In some cases, surgery may be required, but that is usually a last resort.

Different Types of Sudden Jaw Pain

1. Cluster Headaches

– while this might not seem like it could affect your jaw, cluster headaches can cause jaw pain. These headaches affect your eyes and also can migrate down into the jaw region. These are one of the most painful types of headaches, and if you suffer from these, you should consult with your doctor. They can help regulate and monitor medications to ensure that your suffering is minimized.

2. Pain in your teeth

– depending on the type of issues that are going on with your teeth, it can cause jaw pain. If you are suffering from an abscess, this can cause pain to again radiate into your jaw. With any tooth pain, get in touch with your dentist as soon as possible. If you have an abscess, it is imperative that you see your dentist quickly, because this type of infection can cause more significant issues.

3. Sinuses

– when you are having issues with your sinuses, or a severe sinus infection, this can cause pain in your jaw. Because of the nasal cavities and their location, it can allow the pressure to increase on your jaw. A visit to your doctor and medication can alleviate the pressure.

4. Temporomandibular

joint and muscle disorders – commonly known as TMJ, there are many different causes for this type of pain. While there are some different causes for the pain, doctors and dentists can help with the alleviation of your symptoms. Tell your dentist on your next visit about the pain, and any symptoms that you are experiencing. Some of the more reported ones are:
● Grinding of teeth
● Injuries to your jaw
● Stress
● Arthritis in your jaw

5. Heart Attack

– while many are aware of the more common signs of a heart attack, pain in your jaw is one of the warning signs. Heart attacks cause significant pain increases in different types of your body, and the jaw is no exception. If you feel that you are ever suffering from a heart attack, call 911 immediately.
Contact us today, and let us help you keep your smile bright and your jaw pain-free!