Facial Trauma

When you experience any facial trauma, a dental specialist will perform the proper treatment of any facial injuries that you have experienced. For physical and emotional reasons, these professionals should be well versed in emergency care, acute treatment and long-term reconstruction and rehabilitation. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are specifically trained, highly qualified and uniquely skilled to successfully manage and treat facial trauma. By nature, injuries to the face, will typically impart a high degree of physical and emotional trauma to patients. The science and art of treating these particular injuries requires special training involving a “hands on” experience and a complete understanding of how the treatment provided will influence the patient’s long term function and appearance.

Dr. Reisman meets and exceeds these modern standards. Dr. Resiman and his office staff are highly trained, skilled, and uniquely qualified to manage and treat facial trauma in their patients. They are on staff at local hospitals and can deliver emergency room coverage for facial injuries, which include the following conditions:

  • Facial lacerations
  • Intra oral lacerations
  • Avulsed (knocked out) teeth
  • Fractured facial bones (nose, cheek, or eye socket)
  • Fractured jaws (upper and lower jaw)

The Nature of Maxillofacial Trauma

There are numerous causes of facial trauma such as accidental falls, motor vehicle accidents, interpersonal violence, sports injuries and work related injuries. The range of facial injuries can vary greatly, from not as severe injuries to the teeth, to rather severe injuries of the bone and skin of the face. Typically, facial injuries are classified as either soft tissue injuries (such as injuries to the gums and skin), bone injuries (such as fractures), or injuries to special regions (such as injuries to the eyes, facial nerves or the salivary glands).

Soft Tissue Injuries of the Maxillofacial Region

When soft tissue injuries such as lacerations to the face occur, they can be successfully repaired by suturing. In addition to providing a repair that produces the best possible cosmetic result, care is also taken to inspect for and treat injuries to the structures of the face such as facial nerves, salivary glands and salivary ducts (or outflow channels). Dr. Reisman is a highly-trained oral and maxillofacial surgeon who is skilled at diagnosing and treating all types of facial lacerations.

Bone Injuries of the Maxillofacial Region

When there are fractures experienced in the bones of the face, they are typically treated in a manner that is similar to when there are fractures in other parts of the body. We take into account numerous factors when deciding what specific form of treatment is best, including the specific location of the fracture, the severity of the fracture, and the age and general health of the patient we are treating. When an arm or a leg is fractured, a cast is often applied to stabilize the bone to allow for the bone to properly heal. Since its not feasible to place a cast on the face, it’s necessary to use other means that have been developed to to stabilize facial fractures.

One of the options when stabilizing the facial features of our patients 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 screws and plates at the involved site, which is called “rigid fixation” of a fracture. This particular way of treating a facial fracture can often allow for healing and averts the necessity of having the jaws wired together. Rigid fixation is a relatively recent development, but it has profoundly improved the recovery period for several patients, allowing them to quickly return to functioning normally in their day-to-day lives.

The treatment of facial fractures should be accomplished in a thorough, yet also very predictable manner. More importantly, the patient’s physical facial appearance should be minimally affected. An attempt at accessing the facial bones through the fewest incisions possible is always made. At the same time, the incisions that become necessary, are specifically designed to be small and, whenever possible, are placed just right so that the scar that results is minimal.

Injuries to the Teeth and Surrounding Dental Structures

Isolated injuries to teeth are fairly common and may require the expertise of various dental specialists. Oral surgeons are typically involved in treating fractures in the supporting bone or in replanting teeth that have been knocked out or displaced. 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 milk or salt water, and the patient should be seen by a dentist or an oral surgeon as soon as possible. The sooner the tooth is re-inserted into the dental socket, the higher the likelihood that it will survive.  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 the tooth replanting itself. Other dental specialists such as endodontists and/or restorative dentists may also be called upon if there is a need to perform root canal therapy, or to repair or rebuild any fractured teeth. In the unfortunate event that the injured teeth cannot be repaired or saved, dental implants can now be successfully used as replacements for missing teeth.

The proper treatment of facial injuries is now in the realm of specialists who are well versed in emergency care, acute treatment, long-term reconstruction, and rehabilitation of the patient.