Here at Bellflower Oral Facial Surgery, we feature two skilled oral and maxillofacial specialists. These specialists are thoroughly qualified to repair facial injuries, including those that cause damage to both the muscle and bone. Such professionals are well versed in emergency care following the incident, acute treatment, and long term reconstruction and rehabilitation following the trauma and the ensuing surgery. Our professionals work not only to treat physical harm but also the emotions that many patients struggle with following a facial injury.
Injuries to the face are difficult for individuals to cope with, especially when so much emphasis is placed on physical appearance. The science and art of treating such injuries requires special training as well as knowledge and understanding of how the trauma and treatment might affect a patient in the long term.
Dr. Adamous and Dr. Sonnichsen meet and exceed these standards. Both individuals are trained, skilled, and qualified to manage and treat physical facial trauma, as well as the emotions that come with it. They are on staff at local hospitals and have arrived at emergency rooms to treat facial injuries, including the following conditions:
- Facial lacerations
- Intraoral lacerations
- Avulsed (knocked out) teeth
- Fractured facial bones (cheek, nose, or eye socket)
- Fractured jaws (upper and lower jaw)
The Nature of Maxillofacial Trauma
There are numerous causes of facial trauma both mundane and severe. Some of the most common seen are motor vehicle accidents, falls, sports injuries, work-related injuries, and damage caused by interpersonal violence. The types of facial injuries can range in severity from knocked out teeth to lasting damage to the skin and bones of the face. Typically, a facial injury can be classified as one of three categories: soft tissue (skin and gums), bone (fractures in the skull and jaw), or special region (damage around the eyes, facial nerves, and salivary glands).
Soft Tissue Injuries of the Maxillofacial Region
Soft tissue injuries such as lacerations can occur on the face and are repaired through suturing. A professional in facial trauma knows that the suturing needs to yield the best cosmetic result possible, but also that a thorough inspection needs to be done to check for damage to the surrounding structures like the facial nerves, salivary glands, and salivary ducts. Dr. Adamous and Dr. Sonnichsen are well-trained oral and maxillofacial surgeons and are excellent at diagnosing and treating all types of soft tissue injuries that can occur on the face.
Bone Injuries of the Maxillofacial Region
Fractures to the bones in the face are treated similarly to fractures in other parts of the body. The treatment for fractures varies based on severity, a person’s age, and how healthy the patient is overall. While casts can be used on arms and legs to treat fractures, there is no such solution for the face because humans need to be able to see, breathe, and eat. Other means thus have to be used to stabilize facial fractures.
One option is wiring the jaws together for fractures in the upper and/or lower jaw. In other cases, small plates and screws can be used in the affected area. This technique allows for healing without needing to wire the jaws together, making it a preferable alternative for many. The technique is called “rigid fixation” of a fracture and is a relatively recent development that profoundly improves the recovery period of many patients.
It’s important that the treatment of facial fractures be done in a thorough and predictable manner to facilitate healing and patient adjustment to the situation. The patient’s facial appearance should be minimally affected to make them more comfortable. Here at Bellflower, we attempt to access the facial bones through as few incisions as possible. We also design them to be small and, whenever possible, to place them in a location where the scar is hidden from sight.
Injuries to the Teeth & Surrounding Dental Structures
Isolated injuries to teeth are quite common, especially among athletes and others who play sports or engage in physical activity. These injuries often require the expertise of various dental specialists, including oral surgeons who can treat fractures in the supporting bone and replant knocked out teeth. Any knocked out teeth should be placed in salt water or milk before being brought to an oral surgeon who can complete a procedure called splinting, where the tooth is wired or bonded to its socket. This allows the tooth to retake its place and regrow its connections to the mouth.
Never attempt to wipe off a knocked out tooth, as this could remove remnants of ligament that are necessary for helping the tooth replant. Dental specialists like endodontists might be necessary to perform root canal therapy, or a restorative dentist might be needed to repair and rebuilt fractured teeth. If a tooth cannot be saved or repaired, then dental implants are utilized to replace the missing tooth.
The proper treatment of facial injuries is now the realm of specialists who are well versed in emergency care, acute treatment, long-term reconstruction, and rehabilitation of the patient. See one like those here at Bellflower when experiencing facial trauma.