Accidents and injuries can affect any part of our body, including our face. Facial injuries can often seem much worse than those which occur on our areas of the body, largely because they cannot be covered and because of their potential to permanently affect our appearance. Unsurprisingly, this means that trauma to the face can cause serious emotional trauma, which is felt in addition to the physical effects of the injury.
Depending on the extent of the trauma, your teeth, mouth and even jaw could be affected, both in function and appearance. This means that in addition to a dentist, you may also need the assistance of a range of other professionals, including oral and maxillofacial surgeons, to repair the damage and restore the function and appearance of the lower half of your face. This means that additional care will be taken to retain your natural facial structure, shape and strength, as well as minimizing the appearance of any scarring by hiding incisions inside the mouth where this is possible.
Trauma to the face can occur for a wide variety of different reasons. Some of the most common scenarios that can result in traumatic injury to the face include:
Sports injuries, such as a high-speed ball coming into contact with the face.
Sports injuries where your face comes into contact with parts of another person’s body, such as a knee or elbow.
Trips and falls where your face makes contact with a solid object.
Workplace encounters, such as something falling from a height onto your face.
Violent encounters, for example, a broken jaw caused by being punched in the face.
Depending on the severity of the injuries you have sustained, initially, most patients who experience facial trauma will be seen by a doctor. However, once they are satisfied that your condition is stable and that you aren’t at risk of any significant complications, you may then be recommended to speak to oral surgery specialists to plan the next stages of your care.
Whatever the extent of the trauma you have experienced, our experienced and skilled oral surgery team can help. Some of the types of treatment that we have performed in order to repair and restore a patient’s teeth and mouth following a facial trauma include the following:
Knocked-out teeth. Knocked-out teeth are one of the most common types of injury sustained in facial trauma, usually as a result of a blow to the mouth. In some cases, it may be possible to replace a knocked-out tooth – provided that it is recovered properly and replaced as soon as possible. If your tooth can’t be recovered or replaced, an artificial alternative in the form of a bridge, denture, or dental implant may be possible and will be discussed with you.
Lacerations inside the mouth. These refer to cuts that occur inside the mouth and affect the soft tissues, including the inside of the cheeks, the roof of the mouth, the lips, gums, and the tongue. Just like external lacerations, these will need to be carefully sutured so that they can heal. Since the mouth poses a high risk of infection thanks to its moist, warm environment, we will closely monitor how these heal to ensure that there are no complications. In some cases, patients may need soft tissue grafts to restore areas that may have been particularly badly affected.
Fractured bones. In severe blows to the face, it’s possible for the bones to break. Fractures that affect the jaw and face can’t be covered by a cast to stabilize them, so instead our team may have to consider alternative methods to support the healing process, such as wiring the jaws together or placing stabilizing plates into the jaw.
If you have suffered facial trauma and would like to know more about how Drs. Morris and Gama can help to restore the structure, function and appearance of your face, or want to schedule an appointment, contact us today.