Facial Trauma

As Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, we are trained, skilled and uniquely qualified to manage and treat Facial Trauma. Injuries to the face may impart a large amount of emotional, as well as physical trauma to patients. The science and art of treating these injuries requires special training and an understanding of how the treatment provided will influence the patient’s long term function and appearance.

Symptoms and Reasons for Surgery

Our doctors meet and exceed these modern standards for any dental emergency. NYC doctors Swain, Zagari and Lustman are all trained, skilled and uniquely qualified to manage and treat facial trauma. They are on staff at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Campus and deliver emergency room and operating room coverage for facial injuries, which include the following conditions:

  • Facial lacerations
  • Intra oral lacerations
  • Avulsed (knocked out) teeth
  • Displaced/dislocated teeth
  • Fractured facial bones
  • Fractured jaws

Soft Tissue Injuries of the Maxillofacial Region

When soft tissue injuries such as lacerations occur on the face, they may require repair with sutures. In addition to providing a repair that yields the best cosmetic result possible, care is taken to treat injuries to structures such as facial nerves, salivary glands and other anatomic structures. Our doctors are well-trained oral and maxillofacial surgeons and are proficient at diagnosing and treating all types of facial lacerations.

Bone Injuries of the Maxillofacial Region

Fractures of the bones of the face are treated similarly to the fractures in other parts of the body. The specific treatment is determined by various factors, which include the location of the fracture, the severity of the fracture, the age and general health of the patient. When an arm or a leg is fractured, a cast is often applied to stabilize the bone to allow for proper healing. Since a cast cannot be placed on the face, other means have been developed to stabilize facial fractures.

One of these options involves wiring the jaws together for certain fractures of the upper and/or lower jaw. Certain other types of fractures of the jaw are best treated and stabilized by the surgical placement of small titanium plates and screws at the involved site. This technique, called “rigid fixation”, often avoids having the jaws wired together and allows an expedited return to normal function.

The treatment of facial fractures should be accomplished in a manner that is both predictable and with the patient’s facial appearance as the primary focus. An attempt at accessing the facial bones through the fewest incisions necessary is always made, many of the times through the mouth so as to avoid any scars. At the same time, any facial incisions that may be necessary are designed to be 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 common and may also involve fractures in the supporting bone. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons offer expertise in reducing (fixing) these fractures or in replanting teeth that have been displaced or knocked out. These types of injuries are treated by one of several methods of splinting (stabilizing by wiring or bonding teeth together). If a tooth is knocked out, it should be placed in salt water or milk. If neither is available, the tooth may be left in the mouth between the teeth and cheek. The sooner the tooth is re-inserted into the dental socket, the better chance it has to survive. Therefore, the patient should see a dentist or oral surgeon as soon as possible. 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.

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