Facial injuries are frequently an unfortunate result of participating in sports.
Sports participation offers a variety of health benefits, including improved endurance, strength and flexibility, but the downside is that it sometimes leads to accidents. In many cases, facial injuries are a part of the damage.
Wearing the proper protective gear can help prevent many sports-related injuries. But with many of these activities, the face has little or no protection. Facial trauma can occur as a result of falling, being hit with a ball or colliding with another player.
Treatment protocols for facial trauma depend specifically on the nature of the injury.
Soft-Tissue Facial Injuries
Bruises, scrapes and cuts are among the most common sports-related injuries. Many can be treated safely at home, but larger lacerations or cuts with persistent bleeding may need to be examined by a medical professional, preferably at an urgent care or an emergency treatment facility, as they could require stitches.
Falls and impacts while playing sports often result in cuts inside the mouth on the cheeks, tongue or gums. These soft-tissue injuries may need treatment from an oral surgeon in order to speed healing and prevent infection.
Facial Injuries Involving Fractures
Many facial injuries that occur during sports participation involve broken bones.
Symptoms of a possible fracture may include a nosebleed, black eye, pain, numbness in the face and blurred vision. However, broken bones are not always obvious. Swelling can mask a fracture, so any serious facial trauma should be evaluated by a qualified oral surgeon.
Fractures involving the nose, cheeks and jaw are common types of sports injuries. Oral surgeons are trained to understand the delicate balance between the bones and soft tissues of the face, and they can employ advanced techniques to repair facial bones in place, with minimal scarring.
Tooth Damage from Facial Injuries
Collisions and impacts in sports can result in chipped or cracked teeth. If a tooth is broken, an oral surgeon may be able to repair it with a crown. However, if the fracture extends below the gumline, an extraction may be necessary.
Sometimes, facial trauma results in a tooth being knocked out.
An oral surgeon may be able to save the tooth if it is put back in the socket quickly enough. A knocked-out tooth should never be rinsed or wiped clean, as this can destroy the attached connective tissue. Simply place it in a small, clean container with some saliva or milk and contact an oral surgeon immediately.
Teeth that are knocked out or extracted can be replaced with dental implants or a bridge. Tooth restoration of this nature also can be completed by an experienced and qualified oral surgeon.
The professional oral surgeons of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah, serving the greater Salt Lake City area, have the training and expertise necessary to provide a full range or state-of-the-art treatment. Contact our office for assistance with any oral or facial injuries.