Objective: The plethora of techniques available for the treatment of mandibular fractures suggests that there is controversy regarding their definitive outcome. The purpose of this study was to clinically study the complications associated with the different treatment methods of mandibular fractures at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH), Nigeria.
Methods: This was a three-year prospective study carried out at the Dental and Maxillofacial Clinic of the hospital. Patients who met the inclusion criteria had their data recorded in a proforma questionnaire.
Results: Out of the 256 patients studied, 17.2% developed complications. Complications were commoner (70.5%) between ages 21 and 50 years. Thirty-five (79.5%) were males while nine (20.5%) were females with a male:female ratio of 4.9:1. Following treatment by closed reduction, conservative and open reduction, 16.6%, 17.2% and 20.7% had complications, respectively. Whereas occlusal derangement was the most common complication, numbness of the cheek and lower lip was recorded following all treatment methods.
Conclusion: Although the complications recorded in this patient population were managed during postoperative follow-up period, the methods of treatment available give good results, are cost-effective and patient compliance is good. This suggests that the older methods of treatment of mandibular fractures can still be used with reliability in contemporary dental practice.