The doctors at Berks Oral Surgery are specialists highly trained to manage the treatment of facial injuries involving the mouth, face and jaws. There are a number of possible causes of facial injuries. Falls, car accidents, sports injuries, interpersonal violence and work place accidents account for many. Facial trauma can range from injuries to the teeth to extremely severe injuries to the skin and bones of the face. Many patients with facial injuries are first seen in the emergency room and then referred to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon for further treatment. Our doctors are part of the trauma team at the Reading Hospital and also cover the emergency room at St. Josephs Hospital.
INJURIES TO THE TEETH
Oral & maxillofacial surgeons treat fractures that involve the bone that supports the teeth (alveolus) and also are specialists in replacing “knocked out” or displaced teeth. These types of injuries involve some type of “splinting” or bonding teeth together to stabilize the involved teeth while they heal. A “knocked out” tooth should be placed in milk or dilute salt water until you get to the surgeon. Do not wipe off or attempt to clean the root surface as this disturbs the viable ligament that is still attached. Time is of the essence and you should seek treatment as soon as possible. In the event that the tooth cannot be saved, a dental implant can also be utilized to replace the missing tooth.
INJURIES TO SOFT TISSUES
Facial injuries are often complicated by lacerations of the skin and intra-oral tissues. These are carefully repaired by suturing. Our doctors are trained, skilled and uniquely qualified to manage these complex and esthetically demanding facial injuries.
The treatment of jaw and facial bone fractures is similar to the way fractures in other parts of the body are treated. If you break your arm, a cast is often placed to stabilize the bone to allow for healing. Since a cast cannot be placed on the face, other techniques are utilized to fixate and stabilize facial bone fractures. One way to treat these fractures involves wiring the teeth together. Other types of fractures are stabilized by the use of small bone plates. This is called rigid fixation and often does not require wiring the jaws together thus allowing the patient to return to normal function sooner. An attempt is always made to do these procedures from inside the mouth. When skin incisions are necessary, they are designed to be small and usually placed in an area that the resultant scar is “hidden”.
Facial injuries by their very nature, impart a high degree of emotional as well as physical trauma to patients. The science and art of treating these injuries requires special training involving “hands on” experience and an understanding of how the treatment provided will influence the patient’s function and appearance.