Maxillofacial Trauma

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons are trained, skilled, and uniquely qualified to manage and treat facial trauma. There are a number of possible causes of facial trauma. Motor vehicle accidents, falls, sports injuries, and violence. Our doctors are on staff at Hays Medical Center and provide emergency room coverage for facial injuries including the following:

  • Facial lacerations
  • Intra oral lacerations
  • Avulsed teeth
  • Fractured facial bones
  • Fractured jaws

Injuries to the face impart a high degree of emotional and physical trauma to patients. The science and art of treating these injuries requires special training involving a “hands on” experience and an understanding of how the treatment provided will influence the patient’s long term function and appearance.

When soft tissue injuries (skin and gums) occur they are repaired by “suturing.” In addition to the concern for providing a repair which yields the best cosmetic result possible, care is taken to inspect for and treat injuries to structures such as facial nerves, salivary glands and salivary ducts.

Fractures of facial bones are treated in a manner similar to the fractures in other parts of the body. The specific form of treatment is determined by various factors which include the location of the fracture, the severity of it, the age and health of the patient.

One of the options to stabilize facial bones involves wiring the jaws together for certain fractures of the upper and/or lower jaw. Other types of fractures of the jaw are best treated and stabilized by the surgical placement of plants and screws. This technique is called “rigid fixation” of a fracture. This development improves the recovery period for many patients and allows them to return to normal function quickly.

Injuries to teeth are quite common and may require the expertise of various dental specialists. Oral surgeons usually are involved in treating fractures in the supporting bone or in replanting teeth which have been displaced. These types of injuries are treated by wiring or bonding teeth together. If a tooth is displaced it should be placed in salt water or milk. The sooner the tooth is re-inserted into the dental socket, the better chance it will survive. Never attempt to clean the tooth. Remnants of the ligament are vital to the success of replanting the tooth. Other dental specialists may be called upon such as endodontists, 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.