With football, soccer, basketball, and other sports starting this season, we understand why fall is so exciting for sports fans and players. It is also the perfect time to learn about sports-related facial trauma injuries.
Eliminating all risk of facial injury is impossible when you play sports. Collisions with other players, the ground, or a ball can severely injure your face, especially since many sports don’t require facial protective gear. The team at Fort Lauderdale Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery wants you to enjoy your season while staying safe, so we’ve provided some information about common sports-related facial injuries and what oral and maxillofacial surgeons can do to help treat them.
Common Sports-Related Facial Injuries:
Soft Tissue Injuries
Some cuts and bruises can be treated at home, but immediately following a head injury, you should always see a doctor to check for a concussion. Icing your injury with an ice pack or unopened bag of frozen peas can help reduce swelling and bruising after a facial trauma. If bleeding occurs, apply pressure with some gauze to slow it down, changing the gauze once it’s saturated. If bleeding does not show signs of stopping, you may need stitches. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons’ training in facial reconstructive surgery makes them experts in repairing a wide variety of facial wounds.
Soft tissue injuries in the mouth are harder to treat on your own and usually require attention from a professional. Sports-related falls and impacts can result in gashes on the tongue, cheeks, and gums. Your oral surgeon can tape or suture severe oral lacerations to seal them for optimal healing. Oral surgeons can also instruct you on properly cleaning cuts in the mouth to speed up the healing process and prevent infection.
Fractures around the nose, cheekbones, and jaw often require surgical treatment; oral surgeons can use small wires, metal plates, and screws to surgically repair facial fractures and restore the function and aesthetics of your face.
Oral surgeons understand the delicate balance between the muscles and bones of the face, and they often treat facial fractures in hospital settings during their training. Even after they complete training, many oral surgeons remain active staff members at local hospitals for emergency facial trauma cases. If you suffer a facial trauma, our surgical team will see you as soon as possible (usually the same day you call) to diagnose and treat your condition.
Sports-related impacts can chip, crack, or even completely knock out teeth. If you lose a tooth, do NOT try to clean it off or sanitize it, as the tissues attached to the tooth are important for replacement. To preserve the tooth, place it in some saliva or whole milk and immediately visit a dental professional (ideally within 30 minutes).
If your injured tooth cannot be restored, contact our office for information about dental implants or a full-arch restoration. Dental implants are the best long-term restorative solution for missing teeth.
Preventing Facial Injuries
Always wear all of the proper protective gear, mouth guards, and/or face shields recommended for your sport whenever you play, because injuries can even happen during practice. Additionally, having a first aid kit on hand is always a good idea at sports events. We hope you have a great season, and thanks for reading! We encourage you to contact us today for more information about the procedures we offer.