You do everything you can to keep your mouth healthy. You brush and floss your teeth every day and maintain regular dental visits. If you play sports, you wear a mouth guard. These preventative measures are essential for preventing serious oral health issues and injuries. However, even with these measures, injuries can still occur. Facial trauma can cause serious problems. Even injuries that seem minor at the time can lead to issues. At National Dental Williston Park, we can help treat your facial trauma and restore the health of your mouth.
Types of Facial Trauma
Facial trauma is any injury that occurs in the facial region, including inside the mouth. There are several types of facial trauma:
- Soft tissue trauma. This includes cuts, burns and other injuries to the soft tissues of your face and mouth.
- Bone injuries. This includes fractures to your jaw, cheekbones, nose, eye sockets and forehead.
- Injuries to your teeth. Tooth injuries are a common occurrence with facial trauma. Your teeth may be partially dislodged, knocked deeper into the socket, or even knocked out completely (avulsion).
What Causes Facial Trauma?
Facial trauma can be caused by some different things:
- Car accidents (the leading cause of facial trauma).
- Sports related injuries (colliding with other players, being hit by a ball).
- Falls (down steps or from a ladder).
- Getting into a physical fight.
Soft Tissue Injuries
Soft tissue injuries include cuts, burns, contusions and more to both your face and your oral tissues. These injuries need to be addressed right away, and not just for aesthetic reasons. Your soft tissues are filled with nerves and blood vessels. Certain areas also contain salivary glands and ducts. At National Dental Williston Park, we provide the immediate emergency care required to restore the functions of these essential components.
Facial bone fractures, just like any other type of bone fracture (hand, arm, leg), needs to be set. However, facial bones cannot be set in a cast. Instead, we have two ways in which we can set fractures. The first way is through wiring, which is commonly done with the jaw. We wire your jaw closed, which holds it steady while you heal. This treatment is effective, but you cannot use your jaw, which affects many of your normal daily functions. The other way in which we set facial bones is with plates and screws. This method helps to secure fractured bones while still allowing you the movement of your jaw. After you have healed, the plates and screws are often left in place.
Injuries to the Teeth
Injuries to your teeth are a common occurrence with facial trauma. Your teeth may suffer chips or cracks. These can often be treated with crowns (more serious damage may require an extraction and replacement). A tooth may be partially dislodged, or it may be knocked deeper into the socket. In either case, we can reset the tooth and secure it in place with a splint while your jawbone and periodontal ligaments heal.
Some facial trauma can lead to tooth avulsion, or the tooth is completely knocked out. Even if your tooth is knocked out, there is a chance that it can be saved. After you find the tooth, pick it up by the crown (avoid touching the root). Rinse the tooth off under cool water and store it in a glass of milk until you can get to the office. We can replant the tooth and secure it with a splint while you heal. If the tooth cannot be saved, we can discuss your options for replacing it.
If you have suffered facial trauma, even if it seems minor, treatment is required. Call National Dental Williston Park at (516) 686-9780 right away.