People can go through serious emotional and physical harm when they experience a traumatic facial injury. Treating facial trauma requires not only a significant amount of special training but also substantial hands-on experience to provide long-term functional and aesthetic results. Associated Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons can treat minor facial trauma in our offices, even if the procedure requires general anesthesia. However, some injuries may require inpatient hospital care.
Our oral and maxillofacial surgeons serve patients experiencing various forms of severe facial trauma, including:
- Fractures of the nose, cheek, or eye socket
- Fractures of the upper or lower jaw
- Knocked out teeth
- Facial lacerations
- Intra-oral lacerations
Causes and Types of Maxillofacial Trauma
Facial trauma can happen anywhere and at any time. Dr. Busch, Dr. Otte, and Dr. Schroeder treat injuries caused by:
- Accidental Falls
- Automobile Accidents
- Interpersonal Violence
- Job Duties
- Sports Accidents
The types of facial trauma generally include soft tissue injuries, injuries to special regions (like the salivary glands, eyes, or facial nerves), or bone injuries. The nature of these injuries ranges from a knocked-out tooth to serious jaw fractures.
Soft Tissue Facial Trauma
Facial lacerations are the most common type of soft tissue injury. Our doctors work to create optimal results from an aesthetic perspective and to restore normal function. This involves carefully inspecting and treating injuries to the facial nerves, salivary ducts, and salivary glands. Soft tissue injuries are generally repaired with sutures to produce satisfactory results for patients.
Trauma to Facial Bones
When our doctors work with facial bone fractures, there isn’t one specific way to treat them. The type of treatment varies depending on the severity of the injury, the location of the injury, and the overall health and age of the patient. Facial trauma differs from injuries to other body parts for obvious reasons, so our doctors must use specialized techniques to restore a patient’s facial appearance and function.
For injuries to the jawbones, our doctors may use techniques such as wiring the jaws together or inserting plates and screws into the impacted area. The technique of inserting the plates and screws is called rigid fixation and is generally preferred by our patients and doctors. One of the main reasons is that it does not require the wiring of the jaws and allows for quicker healing, so the patient returns to normal function soon after the injury.
While facial trauma is unpredictable, the procedures and treatment options should be somewhat predictable. Our doctors use every means necessary to minimize the cosmetic effects of facial trauma. This means they make as few incisions as possible, and when incisions are necessary, they are made small enough that any resulting scar is not easily noticeable.
Teeth and Dental Structure Trauma
Injuries to the teeth and other dental structures may involve the skillset of dental specialists. The main thing patients always need to remember is to see a dental professional or our doctors as soon as possible if a tooth gets damaged or knocked out. Place the tooth in salt water or milk to preserve it and avoid wiping it, even if it is dirty, so the ligaments are not damaged or removed.
Oral surgeons will treat various fractures in the jawbone and also reinsert knocked-out teeth. Some types of injuries may require bonding the teeth together or stabilizing them with wiring. Other specialists like endodontists may need to conduct root canal therapy, and restorative dentists could be called on to rebuild or repair fractured teeth. Sometimes dental implants are required for missing teeth, but the main takeaway is that every injury to teeth or dental structure is unique and will be treated as such by our doctors.
No matter what type of facial trauma our patients experience, our doctors are specially trained to treat it. If you’ve suffered facial trauma of any severity, contact our office to set up a consultation to learn how we can help.
Our oral and maxillofacial surgeons at AOS are specially trained to treat nearly all types of traumatic facial injuries. Contact our offices to schedule a facial trauma reconstruction consultation.