Facial Trauma

Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons are trained, skilled and uniquely qualified to manage and treat facial trauma. Professionals like Dr. Jones must be well versed in emergency care, acute treatment and long term reconstruction and rehabilitation—and not just for physical reasons. By their very nature, facial injuries bring not only physical trauma but a great deal of emotional trauma, as well. Special training involves “hands on” experience and an understanding of how the treatment provided will influence the patient’s long term lifestyle, function and appearance. Dr. Jones meets and exceeds these modern standards, treating every patient with his unique blend of medical science, art and empathy.

What Types of Facial Trauma Require Surgery?

The face can be damaged in numerous ways, most commonly from work and sports accidents, falls, automobile crashes and interpersonal violence. Injuries fall into specific categories and can be treated with specific types of reconstruction:

  • Facial lacerations
  • Intra oral mucosa lacerations (gums, tissues of the mouth)
  • Avulsed (knocked out) or fractured teeth
  • Fractured facial bones (upper and lower jaw, cheek, nose, eye socket)
  • Fractured or dislocated jaw bones (upper or lower)

IMPORTANT – If a tooth is knocked out, time is extremely important. If the tooth appears intact, place the tooth in milk or moist tissue and call the office so that the tooth can be replaced and stabilized as soon as possible. Never attempt to wipe off the tooth, as remnants of the ligament that hold the tooth in the jaw are attached and are vital to the success of replanting the tooth.

What are the Reasons for Facial Trauma Reconstruction?

The first concern for most people is restoring their appearance. However, there are also many serious health and dental concerns that can result from even a small amount of trauma. No facial injury should be taken lightly. Depending on the exact location of the injury, respiration, speech and swallowing can be greatly impaired.

Failing to treat dental and facial trauma can lead to the following longer term problems:

Loss of Functionality: When teeth have been damaged by trauma, they may become loose in their sockets and make eating and speaking much more difficult. Loose teeth are also more susceptible to infection.
Smile Aesthetics: Chipped, broken or missing teeth can detract from a beautiful smile.
Bite/Jaw Irregularities: After trauma, teeth can become badly aligned. The poor alignment of teeth can lead to TMJ, uneven teeth wear and other complications.

How Do Specialists Classify Types of injuries and Determine Treatment?

Typically, facial injuries are classified as soft tissue injuries (skin and gums), bone injuries (fractures) or teeth injuries. Each requires specialized treatment.

What are the Types of Surgery and What Does Each Involve?

Surgery for Soft Tissue Injuries
Soft tissue injuries such as lacerations on the face need repair by suturing. In addition to the obvious attention to providing a repair that brings the best cosmetic result possible, Dr. Jones takes extreme care to inspect for and treat injuries to structures such as facial nerves, salivary glands, and salivary ducts (or outflow channels). He is highly proficient at diagnosing and treating all types of facial lacerations, and his patients experience optimal outcomes.

Surgery for Bone Injuries
Fractures of facial bones are treated similarly to the fractures in other parts of the body. The specific treatment is determined by several factors: location and severity of the fracture and the age and general health of the patient.

Since a cast cannot be placed on the face, other means have been developed to stabilize facial fractures. One of these options involves wiring the jaws together during the healing phase. Certain other types of jaw fractures are best treated and stabilized by the surgical placement of small plates and screws at the involved site.

Dr. Jones takes special care to ensure that a patient’s facial appearance is minimally affected. He accesses facial bones through the fewest incisions necessary. Incisions that must be made are small and, whenever possible, placed so that any possible scar is hidden.

Surgery for Teeth and Surrounding Dental Structure Injuries
Dr. Jones is highly skilled in treating fractures in the supporting bone or in replanting teeth that have been displaced or knocked out. He treats these types of injuries by various forms of splinting (stabilizing by wiring or bonding teeth together). The sooner the tooth is re–inserted into the dental socket, the better chance it will survive. Therefore, it is crucial to see a dentist or oral surgeon as soon as possible. If injured teeth cannot be saved or repaired, Dr. Jones can utilize dental implants to restore appearance and functionality.

To help you manage swelling and discomfort, we will release you with our thorough post-operative instructions and medication. You may also be provided with instructions for any dietary considerations. Of course, we are available for ongoing support for any of your questions or concerns, as well.