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Every face is unique, showing off characteristics and features that help us stand out from one another. As distinctive as we all are, each face is also made up of over a dozen bones under the surface, all essential to everyday life and function.

This month we begin our three-part series all about what happens when we experience facial fractures. In this article, we will explore the different types of facial bones that can break and the most frequent symptoms patients experience. Fractures that result from any trauma to the face must be corrected in order to regain normal function and appearance. To start, let’s address the most common types of facial fractures.

Types of Facial Fractures

It’s easy to assume that the human skull is one seamless bone, but it really consists of 14 separate bones that all have the potential to break. Injury to the face can result in the following bones injuries:

Nasal Bone Fractures

The nose is formed by a pair of thin, delicate bones. These facial bones are the most breakable due to how thin they are and how much they protrude from the face.

Frontal Bone Fractures

This is the bone that structures the forehead and usually breaks in the middle at its thinnest area. Damage is typically caused by high-impact injury.

Orbital bones

Also known as the eye sockets, the orbital bones commonly break in three main ways:

  • At the rim where the bone is the thickest, called an orbital rim fracture.
  • At the lower part of the socket, called a blowout fracture.
  • At both the rim and lower socket, called a direct orbital floor fracture.

Zygomaticomaxillary bones

Consisting of the cheekbones (zygomas) and the upper jaw (maxilla), fractures to these bones involve breakage to other bones in the face as well.

Mandible bone

The lower jaw is the bone that moves the most on the face. When the lower jaw breaks, teeth also tend to malfunction, either by breaking or becoming loose.

What are the Symptoms of a Facial Fracture?

Patients with a facial fracture or multiple fractures can experience several symptoms, depending on which bone(s) they have broken. The following is a list of symptoms people with facial fractures often display:

Nasal Bone Fracture Symptoms

  • Bruising on or around the nose
  • Eyes that appear black due to discoloration
  • A deviated septum, ranging in severity and often causing air blockage
  • Reoccurring nosebleeds
  • A misshaped nose that appears crooked, twisted, or indented

Orbital Bone Fracture Symptoms

  • Vision problems
  • Eye-movement difficulties
  • Cheeks that appear flat, and eyes that appear either sunken or bulging
  • Facial numbness near the fracture
  • Discoloration in the white part of the eye

Maxilla and Mandible Bone Fracture Symptoms

  • Difficulty eating, moving the lower jaw up and down, or talking
  • Pain around certain teeth, feeling as if they aren’t fitting together properly
  • Teeth that are loose, broken, or missing
  • Pain in the cheek, especially when moving the lower jaw

Patients may also experience swelling, bruising, numbness, bleeding, muscle stiffness, and other facial-fracture symptoms, indicating that their bones need immediate attention.

If you have recently experienced a facial fracture or suspect you may have one, call Dr. Tomlinson right away: 706-549-5033

To find out more about facial fractures, stay tuned for part two! Next month we’ll discuss causes and prevention.

  • Part 1: Types and Symptoms of Facial Fractures
  • Part 2: Causes and Prevention of Facial Fractures
  • Part 3: Diagnosis and Treatment of Facial Fractures