There are many possible causes of facial trauma such as car accidents, falls, sports injuries, and work related injuries. Facial injuries can range from damage to teeth to extremely severe injuries of the skin and bones of the face. There are typically three types of facial injuries: soft tissue injuries, which involve the skin and gums; bone injuries, like fractures; and injuries to specific regions such as the eyes, facial nerves, or the salivary glands.
Soft Tissue Injuries
Soft tissue injuries, such as lacerations, are treated by suturing. In addition to repairing the cosmetic damage, we also take care to inspect facial structures that may have also been injured, such as nerves, salivary glands, and salivary ducts.
Treatment of bone injuries varies depending on the location of the fracture, the severity of the fracture, and the age and general health of the patient. Stabilization of facial fractures range from wiring the top and bottom jaws together to the surgical placement of small plates and screws, or “rigid fixation.” It is important for us to ensure speedy recovery as well as affecting the patient’s appearance as little as possible. Incisions that become necessary for treatment are designed to be small and minimally invasive.
Injuries to the Teeth and Surrounding Dental Structures
Isolated injuries to teeth and surrounding structures are common and sometimes require the expertise of a dental specialist. Oral surgeons usually are involved in treating fractures in the supporting bone or in replanting teeth that have been displaced. These are usually treated by a form of splinting, or stabilizing by wiring teeth together.
Other dental specialists may be needed, such as endodontists, who may need to perform root canal therapy, and/or restorative dentists who may need to repair fractured teeth. In the event that injured teeth cannot be saved, dental implants are often used as replacements for missing teeth.