Understanding Facial Trauma
The occurrence of facial trauma involves much more than the isolated injury to the face. A facial injury is physically, mentally, and emotionally traumatizing to the patient and requires a surgeon that has experience and expert skill in dealing with facial trauma.
Oral surgeons are uniquely trained and qualified to comprehensively treat patients that suffer the full spectrum of facial traumatic injuries. Dr. Tomlinson, having trained at the University of Maryland Medical Center and R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, has extensive experience managing facial trauma. Dr. Tomlinson is on staff at Athens Regional Medical Center and provides on-call coverage for facial trauma including:
- Fractured upper and lower jaws
- Fractured facial bones including forehead, nose, orbits, and cheekbones
- Knocked out or displaced teeth
- Facial lacerations
- Intra-oral lacerations
Types of Facial Trauma
There are three main types of facial trauma in which a surgeon should be expertly skilled: soft tissue trauma or injuries to the gums and skin, bone injuries such as bone fractures, and injuries to the teeth and supporting dental bone.
Injuries to the Gums and Skin
Suturing is the most common way to bring healing to a facial laceration, but the experts at Athens Oral Surgery Center take into consideration facial appearance, scarring, facial nerves, salivary glands, and salivary ducts as well.
Injuries to the Bone
Treatment of bone fractures in the face are determined by location, severity, age, and health of the patient. One option for stabilizing jaw fractures involve wiring the jaws together for an extended period of time. Another option for jaw fractures, rigid fixation, involves using small plates and screws to stabilize the fractured bone. An important goal of treatment for facial fractures is preserving the facial appearance by making the least amount of incisions possible or allowing for scars to be hidden.
Injuries to the Teeth and Bone
It is not uncommon for a tooth to be knocked out causing the patient to require the expertise of an oral surgeon. The oral surgeon will either splint the tooth by wiring or bonding teeth together to hold it in place, or dental implants may become necessary if the injured tooth is not repairable.
Should a tooth be knocked out, place it in milk or salt water and be sure not to clean the tooth off as pieces of the ligament may still be attached.