Maxillofacial Trauma can range from injuries of the teeth to extremely severe injuries of the skin and bones of the face. Typically, facial injuries are classified as soft tissue injuries (skin and gums), bony injuries (fractures), or injuries to special regions (such as the eyes, facial nerves or the salivary glands). There are a number of possible causes of facial trauma, including motor vehicle accidents, falls, sports injuries, interpersonal violence and work-related injuries.
Comforts and Concerns
Take ease in knowing that our oral surgeons can handle practically any dental situation. As board-certified oral and maxillofacial surgeons, Doctors Greene and Hanson are trained, skilled and uniquely qualified to manage and treat facial trauma. The doctors are even on staff at several area hospitals and provide emergency room coverage for a full range of facial injuries.
Soft Tissue Injuries
When soft tissue injuries, such as lacerations, occur on the face, they are repaired by “suturing.” At Lincoln Park Institute, we take concern in providing a repair that yields the best cosmetic result possible, as well as taking the time to inspect for and treat injuries to vital facial structures, such as nerves, salivary glands, and salivary ducts (or outflow channels). Doctors Greene and Hanson are well-trained oral and maxillofacial surgeons and are proficient at diagnosing and treating all types of facial lacerations
Fractures to the bones of the face are treated in a manner similar to the fractures in other parts of the body. However, since a cast cannot be placed on the face, other means have been developed to stabilize facial fractures. The specific form of treatment is determined by various factors, which include the location and the severity of the fracture, as well as the age and general health of the patient.
One option involves wiring the jaws together for certain fractures of the upper and/or lower jaw. However, certain other types of jaw fractures are best treated and stabilized by the surgical placement of small plates and screws at the involved site. This technique of treatment, called “rigid fixation,” can often allow for faster healing and can make having the jaws wired together unnecessary. The relatively recent development and use of rigid fixation has profoundly improved the recovery period for many patients by allowing them to return to normal function more quickly.
The treatment of facial fractures should be accomplished in a thorough and predictable manner. 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 “hidden.”
Teeth and Dental Injuries
Isolated injuries to teeth are quite common and may require the expertise of various dental specialists. Oral surgeons like Doctors Greene and Hanson 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 a number of forms of “splinting” (stabilizing by wiring or bonding teeth together).
If a tooth is “knocked out,” it should be placed in salt water or milk. The sooner the tooth is re-inserted into the dental socket, the better for the survival of the tooth. Therefore, the patient should see a dentist or oral surgeon as soon as possible. Never attempt to “wipe the tooth off,” since remnants of the ligament which hold the tooth in the jaw are attached and vital to the success of replanting the tooth. In the event that injured teeth cannot be saved or repaired, dental implants are often now utilized as replacements for missing teeth.