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General Principles of Mandible Fracture and Occlusion Workup

  • Author: Edward W Chang, MD, DDS, FACS; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
Updated: Jan 11, 2016

Laboratory Studies

See the list below:

  • Routine preoperative laboratory studies are ordered in preparation for surgery.

Imaging Studies

See the list below:

  • A CT scan is extremely useful in maxillofacial trauma. Obtain images in both the axial and coronal planes.
  • A panoramic radiograph (Panorex) affords an excellent 2-dimensional representation of the mandible. The entire mandible and the dentoalveolar structures can be viewed with the Panorex. Historically, the symphyseal region was limited due to overlap wash out, but current orthopantograms give an excellent view of the mandible.
  • Several types of plain films add to the evaluation of mandibular fractures.
    • The dental periapical view gives fine detail to the teeth and their roots.
    • The dental occlusal view helps determine whether the fracture is vertically favorable or unfavorable. It delineates the medializing effects of the internal pterygoid posterior to the first molar and the mylohyoid anterior to the first molar.
  • The mandibular series includes several views to help identify the fracture.
    • The Caldwell is a coronal view that shows displacement in the horizontal plane.
    • The oblique views highlight the ramus angle and posterior body.
    • The reverse Towne view depicts the condylar/subcondylar region well.
  • Obtain a chest radiograph when evidence of a broken denture or missing tooth is present.
Contributor Information and Disclosures

Edward W Chang, MD, DDS, FACS Consulting Staff, Department of Cosmetic Services, Head and Neck Surgery, Kaiser Permanente of Northern California at Santa Rosa

Edward W Chang, MD, DDS, FACS is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, American College of Surgeons, California Medical Association, American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


Edward H Farrior, MD, FACS Affiliate Associate Professor, Voluntary Faculty, Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, University of South Florida Health Sciences Center; Visiting Clinical Associate Director, Department of Otolaryngology, University of Virginia

Edward H Farrior, MD, FACS is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, American College of Surgeons, American Medical Association, Florida Medical Association

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Received salary from Medscape for employment. for: Medscape.

Dominique Dorion, MD, MSc, FRCSC, FACS Deputy Dean and Associate Dean of Resources, Professor of Surgery, Division of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, Université de Sherbrooke, Canada

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA Professor of Otolaryngology, Dentistry, and Engineering, University of Colorado School of Medicine

Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, American Head and Neck Society

Disclosure: Serve(d) as a director, officer, partner, employee, advisor, consultant or trustee for: Cerescan;RxRevu;SymbiaAllergySolutions<br/>Received income in an amount equal to or greater than $250 from: Symbia<br/>Received from Allergy Solutions, Inc for board membership; Received honoraria from RxRevu for chief medical editor; Received salary from Medvoy for founder and president; Received consulting fee from Corvectra for senior medical advisor; Received ownership interest from Cerescan for consulting; Received consulting fee from Essiahealth for advisor; Received consulting fee from Carespan for advisor; Received consulting fee from Covidien for consulting.

Additional Contributors

M Abraham Kuriakose, MD, DDS, FRCS Chairman, Head and Neck Institute, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences

M Abraham Kuriakose, MD, DDS, FRCS is a member of the following medical societies: American Association for Cancer Research, American Head and Neck Society, British Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, Royal College of Surgeons of England

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


Samuel M Lam, MD, FACS Department of Otolaryngology, Facial Plastic Surgery, Presbyterian Hospital of Plano

Samuel M Lam, MD, FACS, is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

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Anatomy of the mandible.
Anatomy of the first molars.
Course of the facial nerve.
Facial incisions.
Intraoral access with identification of the mental nerve.
Favorable and unfavorable fractures. Top: Horizontal reference. Bottom: Vertical reference.
Top: Inferior compression plate. Bottom: Eccentric compression plate.
Maxillomandibular fixation using arch bars retained with composite resin.
Four point fixation for maxillomandibular fixation.
Radiograph of an oblique parasymphyseal fracture amenable to use the lag screw technique.
Reduction using the lag screw technique.
Fracture reduced with 2 screws used in the lag screw fashion.
Using percutaneous access in the difficult angle region.
When dentures are available, they can be used with the circummandibular wire technique.
When an infection or severe comminution is present, an external fixation device may be used.
A minimally displaced posterior mandible fracture.
Intraoperative view with external oblique ridge in view, situation ideal for Champy technique.
A monocortical plate configured in 2 dimensions to fit at the external oblique ridge.
Postoperative radiograph. Patient had an open reduction with internal fixation (ORIF) using the Champy technique and is not in maxillomandibular fixation.
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