Dr. Howerton, Dr. Hopkin, Dr. Kennedy and Dr. Clark are trained, skilled, and uniquely qualified to manage and treat facial trauma. Injuries to the face impart a high degree of emotional and 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 appearance.
Types of Facial Trauma:
Drs. Howerton, Hopkin, Kennedy and Clark are on staff at local hospitals and deliver emergency room coverage for facial injuries, which include the following conditions:
- Facial lacerations
- Intra oral lacerations
- Avulsed (knocked out) teeth
- Fractured facial bones (cheek, nose, or eye socket)
- Fractured jaws (upper and lower jaw)
Do you have any of the issues listed above? Contact our office today to schedule an appointment!
The Nature of Maxillofacial Trauma
There are a number of possible causes of facial trauma. Types of facial injuries can range from injuries of teeth to extremely severe injuries of the skin and bones of the face. Typically, facial injuries are classified as either 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 on the face, they are repaired by suturing. In addition to 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. Howerton, Hopkin, Kennedy and Clark are well-trained oral and maxillofacial surgeons and are proficient 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.
One option for treatment 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 has 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, while only minimally affecting the facial appearance. An attempt is always made at accessing the facial bones through the fewest incisions necessary. At the same time, the necessary incisions are designed to be small, and, whenever possible, are placed so that the resulting 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 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 salt water or milk. The sooner the tooth is re-inserted into the dental socket, the better chance it will survive. Therefore, the patient should see a dentist or oral 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 attached and are vital to the success of replanting the tooth.
Other dental specialists may be called upon such as endodontists, who may be asked to perform root canal therapy and/or restorative dentists who may need to repair or rebuild fractured teeth. In the event that injured teeth cannot be saved or repaired, dental implants are often utilized as replacements for missing teeth.