The maxillofacial surgeon is responsible for the proper treatment of facial injuries. These professionals are knowledgeable in emergency care, acute treatment, and long-term reconstruction and rehabilitation—not only for physical reasons but also for emotional well-being. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons possess the training, skills, and unique qualifications necessary to manage and treat facial trauma. Due to the nature of facial injuries, patients often experience significant emotional and physical trauma. Treating these injuries requires specialized training involving hands-on experience and a deep understanding of how the treatment provided will impact the patient’s long-term function and appearance.

The Nature of Maxillofacial Trauma

Maxillofacial trauma can stem from a variety of causes, such as motor vehicle accidents, accidental falls, sports injuries, interpersonal violence, and work-related injuries. Types of facial injuries can vary from injuries to the teeth to more severe injuries involving the skin and bones of the face. Generally, facial injuries are categorized as either soft tissue injuries (involving the skin and gums), bone injuries (fractures), or injuries to special regions (such as the eyes, facial nerves, or salivary glands).


Injuries to the Teeth & Surrounding Dental Structures

Isolated injuries to teeth are quite common and may require the expertise of various dental specialists. Oral surgeons often treat fractures in the supporting bone or replant teeth that have been displaced or knocked out. These types of injuries are treated through various forms of splinting, such as stabilizing the area by wiring or bonding teeth together. If a tooth is knocked out, it should be placed in salt water or milk. The sooner the tooth is re-inserted into the dental socket, the better chance it has to survive, so the patient should see a dentist or oral surgeon as soon as possible. It’s important not to wipe the tooth off, as remnants of the ligament that hold the tooth in the jaw are attached and are vital to the success of replanting the tooth.

Other dental specialists may be needed, such as endodontists, who perform root canal therapy, or restorative dentists, who repair or rebuild fractured teeth. If injured teeth cannot be saved or repaired, dental implants are often used as replacements for missing teeth.

The proper treatment of facial injuries falls under the care of specialists who are skilled in emergency care, acute treatment, and long-term reconstruction and rehabilitation of the patient.

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