Treating Oral and Facial Injuries

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In this month’s blog, we highlight how our skilled team manages and treats oral and maxillofacial trauma. If you haven’t already seen it, you might also check out Dr. Gene Vandervort’s newest video blog on The Treatment of Oral and Facial Injuries.

In addition to regularly performing wisdom teeth removal, dental implants, and corrective jaw surgery, our board-certified oral and maxillofacial surgeons, Dr. Bluhm, Dr. Dorsch, and Dr. Vandervort are on-staff at INOVA Loudon Hospital and are called on to treat injuries of the mouth, face and jaws. This can be anything from re-implanting a tooth that has been knocked out, to repairing fractures of the jaws, cheekbones and bones that support the eyes. In addition, our surgeons are able to repair lacerations of the face, lips and oral tissues.

In the process, we strive to make the final outcome as cosmetic as possible. We do this by placing incisions into discreet areas so that there is minimal to no visible external scarring. Whether you have experienced trauma from a bicycle injury, fall on the ice, car accident, sports injury, or any other kind, our doctors are able to help. Our goal is to repair your injury and make you as comfortable as possible, both physically and emotionally, during treatment and recovery.

Maxillofacial Injuries Management

Jaw fractures – Injuries to the jaws are unique compared to fractures of other bones. Whereas for a broken leg or arm, a cast might be placed on it, this is not possible with the jaws. For jaw fractures, we might wire the jaws together for several weeks or use small bone plates and screws to facilitate recovery. The way the doctors elect to treat a fracture depends on the severity, position, and type of injury. It also may depend on a patient’s age and medical status.

Dental injuries and avulsions – When it comes to treating displaced teeth or teeth that have been completely knocked out (avulsed), we usually treat the teeth by splinting. This could involve using dental bonding or wiring to reposition and immobilize the teeth so that they can heal. Should a tooth end up knocked out of its socket from an oral injury, you should immediately place it in a cup of milk or even in your saliva. It is imperative that you are seen and treated quickly (within 30-60 minutes) to make re-implantation possible. Do not rinse the tooth or scrape it off since this can damage the cells that provide for successful reimplantation. A tooth that has been avulsed or teeth that have been displaced will need long-term follow-up by your dentist. The teeth may also need to have root canal treatment to increase the likelihood of long-term success.

Soft tissue injuries – Our surgeons are well trained in the management of lacerations to the face, lips, and oral tissues. We have a great deal of experience in suturing techniques to provide an outcome that minimizes scarring and provides as esthetic an outcome as possible.

If you have any questions about the treatment of maxillofacial injuries, we invite you to give us a call and speak with one of our caring staff.