Facial surgeons understand that the nature of facial bone injuries is sudden and unexpected, and for those reasons patients are often caught off guard about where to go for help. With so many different types of specialized doctors and surgeons, being overwhelmed by the options available is not uncommon. Understanding the nature of these types of injuries and available treatment options will help empower those who experience them to trust a facial surgeon for a bone injury.
Causes of Facial Bone Injuries
A wide range of incidents can cause a facial bone injury including motor vehicle accidents, sporting injuries, accidental falls, work-related injuries, and interpersonal violence. Facial fractures can happen to a person of any age, and often times the facial bone injury happens alongside of other, life-threatening injuries due to the nature of the incident.
Types of Facial Bone Injuries
When a facial injury occurs, it is necessary to seek medical treatment right away. Many times, injuries are first treated in the Emergency Room. From there patients are instructed to schedule an appointment with a specialist who can best treat their injury.
Facial bone injuries can include a broken nose, broken jaw, maxillary fracture, cheekbone fracture, eye socket fracture, and TMJ fracture. Symptoms of these types of injuries vary, but most often include pain, swelling, bruising, and noticeable deformity.
Soft tissue injuries often occur at the same time as facial bone injuries. Lacerations of the face, injuries to the facial nerves, salivary glands, and salivary ducts also require specialized care and treatment.
Treatment of Facial Bone Injuries
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons are trained, skilled, and uniquely qualified to manage and treat facial trauma. An oral and maxillofacial surgeon has completed years of hospital-based surgical and anesthesia training after graduation from dental school. Their expertise covers the emergency care of facial bone injuries and soft tissue damage of the face as well as acute treatment, long term reconstruction, and rehabilitation of such injuries. With proper expert care, a facial surgeon can provide the skilled treatment necessary to improve a patient’s long term function and appearance.
Treatment of facial bone injuries generally begins with an x-ray and/or CT scan to thoroughly assess the extent of the injury. Facial surgeons expertly develop a treatment plan based on the location, severity, and age of the patient.
Facial bone injuries cannot be casted like other fractures in the body. Facial surgeons use varying techniques to stabilize facial bones so that healing can take place. Treatments can include wiring of the jaw, stabilization of the fracture using small plates and screws, sutures, and bone grafts. An important goal of facial bone injury treatment is to minimally affect the patient’s appearance and to use well-placed incisions whenever possible.
Facial bone injuries are physically and emotionally taxing for the patient. For this reason, a patient should seek a highly trained professional to properly diagnose and treat this type of injury. The skilled professionals at Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah have extensive training as facial surgeons for a bone injury. They are ready to provide the sensitive and expert care that such an injury requires from a facial surgeon.