Oral and Maxillofacial surgeons specialize in the proper treatment of facial injuries, including emergency care, acute treatment, and long-term reconstruction and rehabilitation. Injuries to the face, by their very nature, impart a high degree of emotional and physical trauma to patients. The science and art of treating these injuries requires special training, experience, and an understanding of how the treatment provided will influence a patient’s long-term function and appearance.
Drs. Noble, Morris, Shaikh, Jacobs and Tomsic will meet and exceed these modern standards. They are trained, skilled, and uniquely qualified to manage and treat facial trauma. They are on staff at local hospitals, delivering emergency room coverage for facial injuries, which include the following conditions:
- Facial lacerations
- Intra oral lacerations
- Avulsed (knocked out) teeth
- Fractured facial bones (cheek, nose or eye socket)
- Fractured jaws (upper and lower jaw)
- TMJ injuries
The Nature of Maxillofacial Trauma
There are a number of possible causes of facial trauma, including motor vehicle accidents, accidental falls, sports injuries, interpersonal violence, or work-related injuries. Types of facial injuries can range from injuries of teeth to injuries of the skin and facial bones. Typically, facial injuries are classified as soft tissue injuries (skin and gums), bone injuries (fractures), or injuries to special regions (such as the eyes, facial nerves, or salivary glands).
Soft Tissue Injuries of the Maxillofacial Region
Soft tissue injuries, such as lacerations on the face are repaired by suturing. In addition to providing a repair that yields the best cosmetic results possible, care is also taken to inspect and treat injuries to facial nerves, salivary glands, salivary ducts, or outflow channels. Drs. Noble, Morris, Shaikh, Jacobs and Tomsic are well-trained oral and maxillofacial surgeons who are proficient in diagnosing and treating all types of facial lacerations.
Bone Injuries of the Maxillofacial Region
Fractures of facial bones are treated similarly to the fractures in other parts of the body. The specific form of treatment is determined by various factors, such as the location of the fracture, the severity of the fracture, and the age and general health of the patient.
Multiple means have been developed to stabilize facial fractures. Wiring the jaws together is used for certain fractures of the upper and/or lower jaw. However, many types of fractures of the jaw or face are best treated and stabilized by the surgical placement of small plates and screws in the injured area. This technique, called “rigid fixation,” can often allow for healing, while eliminating the need of having the jaws wired together. The relatively recent development and use of rigid fixation has profoundly improved the recovery period for many patients, allowing them to return to normal daily functionality more quickly.
Treatment of facial fractures should be accomplished in a thorough and well-planned manner, minimally effecting the patient’s facial appearance. Facial bones are accessed through the fewest incisions necessary. They are small and, whenever possible, are placed so that the resultant scar is hidden.
Injuries to the Teeth and Surrounding Dental Structures
Isolated injuries to teeth are quite common and may require the expertise of various dental specialists. Oral surgeons are usually involved in treating fractures in the supporting bone or in replanting teeth that have been displaced or knocked out. 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 salt water or milk, or a pharmaceutical product such as ‘Save A Tooth’. 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 replanting the tooth. The sooner the tooth is re-inserted into the dental socket, the better chance it will survive. Therefore, the patient should see a dentist or oral surgeon as soon as possible. Other dental specialists may be called upon, such as an endodontist, who may be asked to perform root canal therapy, and/or restorative dentists, who may need to repair or rebuild fractured teeth. In the event that injured teeth cannot be saved or repaired, dental implants are often utilized as replacements for missing teeth.