Facial trauma can be simply described as any injury or damage to the structures of the face, including bones (cheekbones, jaw bones, orbital bones), soft tissues (skin, muscles, and nerves) and dental structures. 

Causes of Facial Trauma and how an Oral Surgeon can help:

10 most common causes of facial trauma:

  1. Motor Vehicle Accidents: Collisions involving cars, motorcycles, bicycles or pedestrians can cause significant facial injuries due to the force of impact. 
  2. Falls: Falls from heights, slips, or trips can lead to facial trauma, especially in children and the elderly.
  3. Assaults: Physical altercations, fights, and assaults can result in facial injuries such as fractures, lacerations, and soft tissue damage.
  4. Sports Injuries: Contact sports such as football, soccer, basketball, and hockey pose a risk of facial trauma due to collisions with other players, equipment, or playing surfaces.
  5. Workplace Accidents: Industrial accidents, construction site incidents, and other workplace injuries can cause facial trauma from falls, machinery accidents, or falling objects.
  6. Recreational Activities: Activities such as skiing, snowboarding, skateboarding, and horseback riding carry a risk of facial injury from falls or collisions.
  7. Physical Altercations: Fistfights, altercations, and physical confrontations can result in facial trauma, including fractures, contusions, and lacerations.
  8. Penetrating Injuries: Stabbings, gunshot wounds, and other penetrating injuries can cause severe facial trauma, including damage to bones, soft tissues, and internal structures.
  9. Animal Bites: Dog bites, cat scratches, and other animal attacks can lead to facial injuries, including lacerations, puncture wounds, and tissue damage.
  10. Medical Procedures: Facial trauma can also occur as a complication of medical procedures, such as dental surgery, facial cosmetic surgery, or medical interventions for underlying conditions.

Overall, facial trauma can arise from various accidental, intentional, or unforeseen events, and the severity of the injury can range from minor cuts and bruises to life-threatening conditions requiring urgent medical attention.

How does an Oral surgeon help with facial trauma? 

Treatment for facial trauma by oral surgeons depends on the severity and specific nature of the injury. A number of different treatments may be necessary, creating interprofessional work between your oral and maxillofacial surgeon, a reconstructive (plastic) surgeon, or an otolaryngologist (ENT) surgeon.

Depending on the extent of the facial trauma, some procedures that take palace by the OMS include:

  1. Fracture repair: OMS surgeons commonly perform surgery to realign and stabilize fractured facial bones including the jaw (mandible), cheekbones (zygomatic bones), and other facial bones. They may use techniques such as wiring, plating, or screw fixation to achieve proper alignment and stability.
  2. Soft Tissue Repair: OMS are trained to repair soft tissue injuries to the face, including lacerations, tears, and other injuries to the skin, muscles, and nerves. Repair for these injuries includes sutures, tissue grafts, or other techniques to restore function and aesthetics. 
  3. Dental Injury Management: OMS are experts in treating dental injuries such as avulsed (knocked-out) teeth, fractured teeth, and injuries to the gums and jawbone. They may perform procedures such as tooth reimplantation, dental splinting, or surgical extraction and socket preservation.
  4. Reconstruction: In cases where severe facial trauma with tissue loss or deformity, OMS surgeons may perform reconstructive surgery to restore the appearance and function of the face. This may involve techniques such as bone grafting or soft tissue reconstruction. 

While other specialists such as plastic surgeons or ENTs may also perform some of these procedures, OMS surgeons are uniquely qualified to address facial trauma due to their comprehensive training in surgery, dentistry, and facial anatomy. They work closely with other medical professionals as part of a multidisciplinary team to provide comprehensive care for patients with facial injuries. 

Overall, the goal in treating facial trauma is to restore both the form and function of the face while minimizing long-term complications and maximizing the patient’s quality of life.