Facial trauma can occur at any age for many different reasons, and all injuries should be assessed by a trained medical professional, no matter how minor. Your face is one of the most sensitive and susceptible areas of your body, and damage can range in severity from superficial to life-threatening.
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons separate facial trauma into three categories, with each requiring a different treatment approach.
Soft Tissue Injuries
Soft tissue injuries involve cuts or lacerations to the face or oral tissues and may occur as the result of a car accident, a sports-related injury, a fall or other event. Most soft tissue injuries can be repaired with stitches or sutures, and doctors will pay special attention to how the injury will affect the patient cosmetically once it heals. In order to minimize any long-term negative effects, the doctor also must take into account how the injury may affect nerves and facial muscles.
When children or adults play contact sports, teeth may be knocked out or displaced. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons may be able to place the teeth back in the sockets and stabilize them with splints, depending on how much time has passed since the injury. Prompt treatment is key to salvaging original teeth; otherwise, dental implants may be the best option for replacing missing permanent teeth.
Sports injuries and car accidents might also lead to broken jaw or facial bones. Fractures and breaks must be stabilized and positioned so that the natural healing process progresses correctly. An oral and maxillofacial surgeon may use screws or plates to treat bone injuries to promote correct healing, patient comfort and cosmetic results.
How Do Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons Help?
All three types of facial trauma injuries require attention from a doctor trained in the intricacies and potential complications of facial injuries. A facial injury can make eating, speaking and swallowing difficult. Untreated or improperly treated injuries can lead to future jaw and tooth alignment problems.
Facial trauma could also result in permanent cosmetic disfigurement. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are specifically trained how to address facial trauma incidents so the patient’s oral function and appearance is restored as fully as possible.
Dental professionals always recommend outfitting yourself and your child with every possible piece of protective headgear available when participating in contact sports. This may include a mouthguard, face guard and/or helmet, depending on the sport.
Educate your children and other family members on how to respond when a tooth injury or any type of facial trauma occurs. A fast response is key to preserving and restoring chipped or knocked-out teeth.
The compassionate team at Northeast Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery provides skilled, professional care. Contact us if you or a loved one suffers facial trauma and needs emergency care.