Facial trauma is more common than most people realize. There are actually more than three million cases of facial trauma admitted each year to hospitals in the United States. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are highly trained and skilled in evaluating and treating facial trauma.
Naturally, injuries to the face often come with a significant amount of physical or emotional trauma. At Fort Lauderdale Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, Dr. Hernandez has undergone extensive training and obtained hands-on experience dealing with facial trauma injuries. As an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, he has a clear understanding of how the treatment provided will repair the patient’s appearance and long-term oral function.
There are several different ways that the face and mouth can be affected by trauma situations. Some of the more frequently seen facial trauma injuries include
- Avulsed (knocked-out) teeth
- Facial lacerations
- Fractured jaws (upper and lower jaw)
- Fractured facial bones (cheek, nose, or eye socket)
- Intraoral lacerations
What causes facial trauma?
There are several causes of facial trauma, including automobile accidents, work-related injuries, falls, sports injuries, physical assaults, and accidents in the home. The kind of injury incurred will determine the treatment that is necessary to correct the problem. The types of facial injuries range from moderate, such as injuries to teeth, to extremely severe injuries to skin and bones of the face. Facial injuries are categorized as soft tissue injuries (skin and gums), bone injuries (fractures), or extraordinary regions (such as facial nerves, eyes, or the salivary glands).
The most common kinds of facial trauma injury include
Injuries to the Teeth and Surrounding Dental Structures. Isolated injuries to teeth are quite common, and oral surgeons usually are involved in treating fractures in the supporting bone or in replanting teeth which have been displaced or knocked out. In the event that an injured tooth or teeth cannot be saved or repaired, dental implants are often now utilized as replacements and can be placed in our office. We encourage you to take the following precaution in the event that your tooth is knocked out:
- If you can immediately rinse it off, replace the root into the socket and contact your dentist or Dr. Hernandez.
- If not, place the tooth in salt water or milk.
- Contact us immediately — the sooner the tooth is re-inserted into the socket, the better chance it will survive.
- Never attempt to wipe the tooth off! You may be tempted to wipe it off if it is dirty, but since remnants of the ligament which holds the tooth in the jaw are attached, you don’t want to risk additional damage to the tooth. This is vital to the success of replanting the tooth.
Bone Injuries of the Maxillofacial Region. The treatment of facial bone fractures may vary based on the severity and area of the fracture. Typically, treatment for facial fractures is stabilization and then healing may include wiring the jaws together or the surgical placement of small plates and screws at the area of injury. Dr. Hernandez takes strides to ensure that the fewest incisions are made and that the patient’s facial appearance is restored.
Soft Tissue Injuries of the Maxillofacial Region. Soft tissue injuries, such as lacerations, occur on the face and can be repaired by suturing. Dr. Hernandez takes care to inspect and treat all soft tissue injuries to ensure the most aesthetically pleasing cosmetic outcome.
It is important to treat cases of facial trauma in a timely manner to avoid the long-term problems that may arise if left untreated. Failure to treat facial trauma can result in impacted teeth, misalignment of the jaw and bite, resorption of the jaw bone, the development of disorders in the temporomandibular joint of the jaw, and discomfort or even disfigurement. If you have suffered a facial injury of any sort, we encourage you to contact our office immediately. Dr. Hernandez is on the trauma teams of both the Level I trauma hospital, Broward General Medical Center, and the level II trauma hospital, North Broward Medical Center. While serving on the trauma teams, Dr. Hernandez is responsible for treating victims of motor vehicle crashes, assaults, gunshot wounds, or even accidents, such as slipping and falling. If a facial injury occurs, Dr. Hernandez is responsible for the care of these patients.