A facial fracture can range from mild to serious, but it has the potential to cause vision problems, brain damage and airway obstruction. There’s no time to waste with an injury to the face — you need to know exactly how to respond to minimize complications and make sure treatment is as effective as possible.
Facial fracture emergency treatment largely depends on the symptoms. Whether the injury occurred during a car accident, a sports activity or an assault, assessing the victim’s condition is the first step in determining the proper response.
What Type of Injury Is It?
The face has 14 bones, so a number of injuries can result from facial trauma.
If you have a broken nose, you may have the following symptoms:
- Bent or crooked nose
- Swelling and bruising around the nose
- Pain and a grating feeling when you move the nose
If you have a fractured jaw, you may have the following symptoms:
- Jaw pain that gets worse when you bite or chew
- Facial bruising, swelling and numbness
- Damage to teeth
- Mouth bleeding
If you have a fractured cheek, you may have the following symptoms:
- An unusually flat cheek
- Vision problems
- Jaw pain
- Blood in the eye
If you have a fractured eye socket, you may have the following symptoms:
- Double vision
- A sunken eye
When Should You Call 911?
In general, whenever you sustain any type of head trauma, you should see a doctor. Facial fracture injuries do not always require immediate medical attention, but if you have any of the following symptoms, you should call 911 or visit the nearest emergency room:
- You can’t stop a nosebleed or clear fluid is draining from your nose
- You are having trouble breathing
- You lost consciousness at any point
- You have blurry or double vision
- You can’t hear
- It hurts to move your jaw
- Your facial bones look uneven
- You have loss of feeling in the face
For minor symptoms, make an appointment with your physician to have an evaluation.
What Treatment Is Needed?
Every facial fracture is unique. Depending on the severity of the injury and the location, your doctor and oral surgeon will design a personalized treatment plan for you.
For a serious facial fracture, such as a jaw fracture, you may need surgery. Your oral surgeon will stabilize your jaw with plates and screws to ensure it heals properly. Surgery is usually scheduled for seven to 10 days following the injury, once the swelling has receded.
Right after a facial fracture, ice is one of the most important treatments. Ice will bring down the swelling and help numb pain. Avoid hot showers and hot packs.
Keep your head elevated, and eat soft foods to reduce jaw movement. Over-the-counter pain medication will help reduce discomfort.
If you have a serious facial fracture, contact Northeast Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery for a consultation. We will assess your injury and provide a professional recommendation on whether surgery is necessary to facilitate healing.