The doctors at SouthOMS, as Board Certified oral and maxillofacial surgeons, are uniquely qualified to treat facial trauma. As maxillofacial experts, we are well versed in emergency care, acute treatment, and long-term reconstruction and rehabilitation – not just for physical reasons but emotional as well. Injuries to the face, by their very nature, impart a high degree of emotional, as well as physical trauma to patients. The science and art of treating these injuries require special training, experience and an understanding of how the treatment provided will influence the patient’s long-term function and appearance.
Drs. Schultz, Perciaccante, Anderson, Keyser and Smith are trained, skilled, and uniquely qualified to manage and treat facial trauma.
They are on staff at local hospitals and deliver emergency room coverage for facial injuries, which include the following conditions:
- Facial lacerations
- Intra oral lacerations
- Avulsed (knocked out) teeth
- Fractured facial bones (cheek, nose or eye socket)
- Fractured jaws (upper and lower jaw)
What Leads to Facial Trauma?
There are numerous causes of facial trauma such as gunshot wounds, stabbings, motor vehicle accidents, accidental falls, sports injuries, interpersonal violence, and work-related injuries. Types of facial injuries can range from simple lacerations and fractures to crushing injuries of the face or total destruction or avulsion of facial structures.
When soft tissue injuries such as lacerations occur on the face, they are repaired by suturing. In addition to the obvious concern of providing a repair that yields the best cosmetic result possible, care is taken to inspect for and treat injuries to vital structures such as facial nerves, salivary glands, and salivary ducts (or outflow channels). Our physicians are exceptionally trained oral and maxillofacial surgeons and are proficient at diagnosing and treating all types of facial injuries to restore full function and aesthetics.
Bone Injuries of the Maxillofacial Region
Fractures of the facial bones are treated in a manner similar to fractures in other parts of the body. The specific form of treatment is determined by various factors, which include the location of the fracture, the severity of the fracture, the health of the existing teeth, and general overall health of the patient. When an arm or a leg is fractured, a cast is often applied to stabilize the bone to allow for proper healing. Since a cast cannot be placed on the face and jaws, other means have been developed to stabilize and treat facial fractures.
Certain types of fractures of the jaws are best treated and stabilized by the surgical placement of small plates and screws at the involved site. This technique of treatment can often allow for healing and may eliminate the need to have the jaws wired together. This technique is called “rigid fixation” of a fracture. The use of rigid fixation has profoundly improved the recovery period for many patients, allowing them to return to normal function more quickly than in the past.
The treatment of facial fractures should be accomplished in a thorough and predictable manner. More importantly, the patient’s facial appearance should be minimally affected. An attempt at accessing the facial bones through the fewest incisions necessary is always made. At the same time, the incisions that become necessary, are designed to be small and, whenever possible, are placed so that the resultant scar is minimized and hidden.
Injuries to the Teeth & Surrounding Dental Structures
Isolated injuries to teeth are quite common and may require the expertise of your general dentist as well as multiple dental specialists. Oral surgeons usually are involved in treating fractures in the supporting bone or in replanting teeth that have been displaced or knocked out. These types of injuries are treated by one of several different methods of splinting (stabilizing by wiring or bonding teeth together). If a tooth is knocked out, it should be placed inside the mouth alongside the cheek if possible. Otherwise, the next best option is storing in milk or a balanced saline solution. The sooner the tooth is re-inserted into the dental socket, the better chance it will survive. Therefore, the patient should see a dentist or oral surgeon as soon as possible following the injury. If the event occurs after normal office hours, proceed to an Emergency Room. Never attempt to wipe the tooth off, since remnants of the ligament that hold the tooth in the jaw are attached and are vital to the success of replanting the tooth. You may be referred to other dental specialists such as an endodontist, to have root canal therapy performed on the injured tooth. If injured teeth cannot be saved or repaired, dental implants are often utilized as replacements for missing teeth. Dental implants are currently the most advanced treatment for replacement of missing natural teeth.