Most jaw fractures fall into one of 2 categories…traumatic fracture or pathologic fracture. Traumatic fractures happen due to injury associated with falls, bite wounds, being hit by a car, or other injuries to otherwise healthy bones. Pathologic fractures happen when a bone breaks under stresses that would not cause a fracture in a healthy bone. The most common pathologic oral fractures are mandibular fractures that develop when the mandible (lower jawbone) is weakened by deep periodontal disease and bone loss. Pathologic fractures due to periodontal disease are rare in cats and large breed dogs.
Fractures can be repaired by several different techniques. Some techniques used include interdental wiring and acrylic splint placement, interfragmentary wiring, cerclage wiring, bone plating, maxillomandibular fixation, external support (muzzle), bone removal, or some combination of the above techniques. The recommended repair technique will depend on the type of fracture (traumatic vs. pathologic), the location of the fracture, the health of the teeth, age of the pet, the health of the affected pet, and many other factors.