At Northeast Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center, our doctors are superbly trained to treat facial injuries. Each of them is well versed in emergency care, acute treatment and long-term reconstruction and rehabilitation. Dr. Shannon and Dr. Hunter are uniquely qualified to manage and treat facial trauma. Injuries to the face impart a high degree of emotional and physical trauma to patients. The science of treating these injuries requires special training as well as an understanding of how the treatment provided will influence a patient’s long-term function and appearance. Our doctors at Northeast Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center meet and/or exceed these modern standards. They are on staff at local hospital centers. They provide emergency room coverage for facial injuries, including the following conditions:
- Facial lacerations
- Intra-oral lacerations
- Avulsed (knocked out) teeth
- Fractured facial bones (cheek, nose or eye socket)
- Fractured jaws (upper and/or lower jaw)
The Nature of Maxillofacial Trauma:
There are a number of possible causes for facial trauma including:
- motor vehicle accidents
- accidental falls
- sports injuries
- work-related injuries
Types of facial injuries range from injuries of teeth to extremely severe injuries of the skin and bones of the face. Typically, facial injuries are classified as either “soft tissue injuries” (skin and gums), “bone injuries” (fractures) or injuries to special regions (such as the eyes, facial nerves or the salivary glands).
Soft Tissue Injuries of the Maxillofacial Region:
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 treat injuries to structures such as facial nerves, salivary glands and salivary ducts (or outflow channels). Dr. Shannon and Dr. Hunter are Board Certified Oral and Maxillofacial surgeons, who are proficient at diagnosing and treating all types of facial lacerations.
Bone Injuries of the Maxillofacial Region:
Fractures of the bones of the face are treated in a manner similar to fractures in other parts of the body. The specific form of treatment is determined by various factors, including the location of the fracture, the severity of the fracture, the age and general health of the patient. When an arm or a leg is fractured, a cast stabilizes the bone to allow for proper healing. 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 for certain fractures of the upper and/or lower jaw. Other types of fractures of the jaw 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 obviates the necessity of having the jaws wired together. This technique is called “rigid fixation” of a fracture. The relatively recent development and use of rigid fixation has profoundly improved the recovery period for many patients, allowing them to return to normal function more quickly.
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 scar is hidden.
Injuries to the Teeth and Surrounding Dental Structures:
Isolated injuries to teeth are quite common. Northeast Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center specializes in treating fractures of the supporting bone or reinserting 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 immediately be placed in salt water or milk. The sooner the tooth is re-inserted into the dental socket, the better chance it will survive. Any patients with facial injuries should see one of our doctors at Northeast Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center as soon as possible. Never attempt to wipe the tooth off, since remnants of the ligament that hold the tooth in the jaw are attached. These remnants are vital to the success of reinserting the tooth. Other dental specialists may be consulted such as endodontists, who perform root canal therapy and/or restorative dentists, who repair or rebuild fractured teeth. In the event that injured teeth cannot be repaired or saved, dental implants are utilized as replacements for missing teeth. Our doctors at Northeast Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center are highly trained in the treatment of facial injuries.