Dealing with any serious injury is a difficult challenge. Severe facial trauma may result from auto or work-related accidents, sports injuries, falls, and acts of violence. If you’ve suffered through such a disabling condition, it is important that you receive immediate and comprehensive care. You will need the assistance of a maxillofacial surgeon.
Facial trauma typically involves injuries to the mouth, jaws, teeth, jaw and face bones, and the tissue of the skin and gums. At times, it may involve damage around the eyes or salivary glands. Facial injuries thus affect not only a person’s ability to carry out basic life functions, but also their appearance and self-confidence. Thus, it is easy for patients to lose self-esteem and even battle feelings of depression.
However, with modern medicine and skilled surgeons with years of specialized training and experience, you can receive treatment that will vastly improve your condition and quality of life.
One common type of minor facial trauma is when a tooth is knocked out by force. Typically, if treatment is immediate, the doctor can reimplant the tooth in the jaw. If this option isn’t available, the doctor may recommend a dental implant.
Another common, but more serious, injury involves the fracture of the facial bones. This may include damage to the cheekbones, upper or lower jawbones, or even the eye sockets. Much like treatment of a broken arm, the doctor must place the bones to their original position and immobilize them. Since the normal method of using a cast is not possible with injuries of the face, we must use different techniques of immobilization. These include wiring your mouth shut, or using plates and screws that will assist in permanently reattaching bones.
If a patient battles a serious disease that affects these areas (such as oral cancer), it may be necessary to remove a portion of the facial skeleton. Treatment in these cases may require a period of time to allow the patient to recover from the effects of radiation, followed by a bone grafting procedure using bone taken from your hip or tibia.
Depending on individual circumstances (such as the type and severity of the injury), a patient may require multiple stages of surgery to achieve the desired result. Your surgeon will work with you to develop a comprehensive treatment plan, including a timeline and progression to address your specific condition.
After a complete treatment plan has been established, your dentist and surgeon will instruct you on post-operative home care. Individuals’ bodies heal at different rates, and other unpredictable issues (such as infection) may affect the timeline of recovery.
By working together with your doctors and following their instructions, you will experience greatly improved oral health and function, an improved appearance, and renewed confidence, comfort, and quality of life.