This April, oral surgeons across the United States are joining forces with leading professional organizations — including the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, the American Dental Association, the Academy for Sports Dentistry, The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Association of Orthodontists — to get an important message out.
The goal of this joint effort is to spread the word about National Facial Protection Month. Sports-related facial injuries occur all too often — even more during the springtime — and many could be prevented with proper facial protection.
How much do you know about treating and preventing facial injuries related to playing sports? Learning more can help you be proactive about your health and that of your children.
First Aid for Sports-Related Facial Injuries
If you suffer a facial injury while playing sports and have to visit the emergency room, request a consultation with an experienced oral and maxillofacial surgeon. With their training and expertise, oral surgeons are the most qualified professionals to manage serious facial injuries.
In the meantime, however, follow these first aid steps:
- For facial bleeding: Apply pressure to the wound with a clean cloth.
- For fractured teeth: Gently clean the injured area and apply ice. Bring the broken tooth piece to an oral surgeon for possible reattachment.
- For knocked-out teeth: Rinse and replace the tooth in the socket or store in cold milk, salt water or in the cheek until it can be reimplanted.
- For nasal fractures: Gently pack the nostrils with gauze and apply ice to the nose.
How Oral Surgeons Treat Facial Injuries
Fractured and knocked-out teeth can often be saved with prompt treatment. However, when teeth cannot be reattached or reimplanted, an oral surgeon can replace them with dental implants or a bridge.
Treatment for a fracture in the nose, cheeks or jaw is not unlike that for a broken arm or leg. The parts of broken bone must be aligned and secured in the proper position. This may require multiple incisions along with wiring or plating.
Fortunately, oral surgeons understand how to correct sports-related facial fractures with the least possible amount of scarring.
Preventing Sports-Related Facial Injuries
Athletes of all ages can often prevent injuries with the right facial protection. For the best chance at injury prevention, oral and maxillofacial surgeons recommend taking the following steps:
- Wear a mouthguard when you play contact sports.
- Wear the appropriate helmet or mask for your chosen sport.
- Wear protective eyewear when playing sports.
- Check the condition of your facial protection equipment before use and replace as needed.
For expert treatment for a sports-related facial injury, call on the professional oral surgeons at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah. Dr. Partridge and Dr. Maxfield have extensive experience in the treatment of tooth damage, facial fractures and complex, emergency sports-related facial injuries. Contact one of our three convenient Salt Lake City-area locations in Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan and Tooele to schedule a consultation with our highly skilled oral surgeons.