Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons are involved in the diagnosis and treatment of traumatic facial injuries. Dr. Steinberg, Dr. Nick & Dr. Figueroa are well versed in emergency care, acute treatment and long term reconstruction and rehabilitation of facial injuries. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons are trained, skilled and uniquely qualified to manage and treat facial trauma injuries. By their very nature, these types of injuries impart a high degree of emotional, as well as physical trauma to patients. The science and art of treating these injuries requires special training involving a “hands on” experience and an understanding of how the treatment provided will influence the patient’s long term function and facial appearance.
Did You Suffer a Traumatic Injury?
Drs. Steinberg, Nick and Figueroa can examine your teeth after a traumatic injury to determine the best treatment.
Drs. Steinberg, Nick & Figueroa meets and exceeds these modern standards because of their previous hospital trauma center experiences. They are trained, skilled and uniquely qualified to manage and treat facial trauma. They are on staff at local hospitals and deliver emergency room coverage for facial injuries, which include the following conditions:
- Facial lacerations
- Intraoral lacerations
- Avulsed (knocked out) teeth
- Fractured facial bones (cheek, nose, or eye socket)
- Fractured jaws (upper and lower jaw)
- Injury to salivary glands and ducts
The Nature of Maxillofacial Trauma
There are a number of possible causes of facial trauma such as motor vehicle accidents, accidental falls, sports injuries, interpersonal violence and work related injuries. Traumatic facial injuries can range from tooth injuries to extremely severe injuries involving skin and bones of the face. Typically, facial injuries are classified as 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 occur such as lacerations 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 inspect for and treat injuries to structures such as facial nerves, salivary glands, and salivary ducts. Drs. Steinberg, Nick & Figueroa are well-trained 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 the fractures in other parts of the body. The specific form of treatment is determined by various factors, which include 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 is often applied to stabilize 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. Certain 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 have 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 as minimally affected as possible. 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.
Injuries to the Teeth & Surrounding Dental Structures
Isolated injuries to teeth are quite common and may require the expertise of various dental specialists. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons 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 saltwater or milk. The sooner the tooth is re-inserted into the dental socket, the better chance it will survive. Teeth that are out of the mouth for longer periods of time may not be able to be re-implanted.
Therefore, the patient should see a dentist or Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon as soon as possible. Never attempt to wipe the tooth off, since remnants of the ligament that hold the tooth in the jaw are still attached and are vital to the success of replanting the tooth. Other dental specialists may be needed such as endodontists, who may be asked to perform root canal therapy. Additionally, restorative dentists may also be needed to repair or rebuild fractured teeth. In the event injured teeth cannot be saved or repaired, dental implants are often utilized as replacements for missing teeth.
The proper treatment of facial injuries belongs in the realm of specialists who are well versed in emergency care, acute treatment, long term reconstruction and rehabilitation of the patient.