Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons are trained, skilled and uniquely qualified to manage and treat Facial Trauma.
Dr. Reynolds is on staff at Poudre Valley Hospital and Medical Center of the Rockies and provides emergency room coverage for facial injuries including:
- Fractured facial bones (cheek, nose or eye socket)
- Fractured jaws (upper and lower jaw)
- Facial lacerations
- Intraoral lacerations
- Avulsed (knocked out) teeth
- Skull fractures
- Scalp lacerations
- Ear laceration
- Nerve trauma
- Salivary duct and gland trauma
Injuries to the face, 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 a “hands on” experience and an understanding of how the treatment provided will influence the patient’s long term function and appearance. Dr. Reynolds has medical, dental and surgical training which make him a specialist in treating facial injuries.
The Nature of Maxillofacial Trauma
There are a number of possible causes of facial trauma such as motor vehicle accidents, accidental falls, sports injuries, interpersonal violence, and work-related injuries. Types of facial injuries can range from injuries of teeth to extremely severe injuries of the skin and bones of the face. Typically, facial injuries are classified as either soft tissue injuries (skin and gums), bone injuries (fractures), or injuries to special regions (such as the eyes, facial nerves or the salivary glands and ducts).
Bone Injuries of the Maxillofacial Region
Fractures of the bones of the face are treated in a manner similar to the fractures in other parts of the body. The specific form of treatment is determined by various factors, which include the location of the fracture, the severity of the fracture, the age and general health of the patient. When an arm or a leg is fractured, a cast is often applied to stabilize the bone to allow for proper healing. Since a cast cannot be placed on the face, other means have been developed to stabilize facial fractures.
In the past the way of stabilizing the fractured bones was to wire the jaws together. Today fractures are best treated and stabilized by the surgical placement of small titanium “plates and screws” at the fracture site. This technique of treatment can often allow for healing without the necessity of having the jaws wired together. This technique is called “rigid fixation” of a fracture. The relatively recent development and use of rigid fixation have profoundly improved the recovery period for many patients, allowing them to return to normal function more quickly. In some cases, wiring may still be used to augment internal rigid fixation or it may be the treatment of choice.
The treatment of facial fractures should be accomplished in a thorough and predictable manner. More importantly, the patient’s facial appearance should be minimally affected. An attempt at accessing the facial bones through the fewest incisions necessary is always made. At the same time, the incisions that become necessary, are designed to be small and, whenever possible, are placed so that the resultant scar is “hidden”. Many times all the incisions can be placed inside the mouth.
Soft Tissue Injuries of the Maxillofacial Region
When soft tissue injuries such as lacerations occur on the face, they are repaired by “suturing”. In addition to the obvious concern of providing a repair that yields the best cosmetic result possible, care is taken to inspect for and treat injuries to structures such as facial nerves, salivary glands and salivary ducts (or outflow channels). Our doctors are well-trained oral and maxillofacial surgeons and are proficient at diagnosing and treating all types of facial lacerations.
Injuries to the Teeth and Surrounding Dental Structures
Isolated injuries to teeth are quite common and may require the expertise of various dental specialists. Oral surgeons usually are involved in treating fractures in the supporting bone or in replanting teeth that have been displaced or knocked out. These types of injuries are treated by one of a number of forms of splinting (stabilizing by wiring or bonding teeth together).
Avulsed teeth (tooth knocked out)
If a tooth is knocked out, it should be placed in salt water (1/2 teaspoon to 8 oz.) or milk or can be placed in the patient’s own mouth between the cheek and gum. The sooner the tooth is re-inserted into the dental socket, the better chance it will survive. But don’t put a dirty tooth back in the socket. Therefore, the patient should see a dentist or oral surgeon as soon as possible. Never attempt to wipe the tooth off, since remnants of the ligament that hold the tooth in the jaw are attached and are vital to the success of replanting the tooth instead rinse in milk or salt water.
Other dental specialists may be called upon such as endodontists, who may be asked to perform root canal therapy, and/or restorative dentists who may need to repair or rebuild fractured teeth. In the event that injured teeth cannot be saved or repaired, dental implants are often now utilized as replacements for missing teeth.
The proper treatment of facial injuries is now the realm of specialists, such as oral and maxillofacial surgeons, who are well versed in emergency care, acute treatment, long term reconstruction and rehabilitation of the patient.
Facial Trauma Pictures and Case Studies
WHY Reynolds oral and facial surgery?
Reynolds Oral and Facial Surgery is one of the best oral and facial surgery teams around. With more than 20 years of experience and extensive training, we know what it takes to make sure your procedure runs smoothly. Dr. Reynolds and Dr. Gresehover have a keen eye for detail and strive to make sure to answer any questions you may have. Our team understands that medical procedures can be very nerve-racking experiences which is why we make sure you are comfortable and have the best experience possible. We also invest heavily in the most advanced surgical technology available ensuring you get the best results possible.