What To Do in the Case of Sudden Oral or Facial Injury
Facial and oral trauma incidents are some of the most common and most serious external injuries sustained, largely due to their proximity to the brain, brain stem and spinal cord, as well as to the immense concentration of nerve endings in the mouth and face.
In the case of sudden oral or facial injury, it is always best to err on the side of caution and consult a licensed medical professional as soon as is feasible in order to undergo a complete evaluation. Even if you feel fine following a moderate blow to the mouth or face, it is possible that internal damage has been done and will not become apparent for a few hours to a few days.
Types of Serious Facial and Oral Injuries
The following types of facial and oral injuries should be considered severe and require immediate medical attention, often provided by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon:
- Teeth that are forcibly removed in any way
- Lacerations of the face
- Lacerations within the mouth
- Fractured facial bones, including the nose, eye socket or cheek bones
- Fractured jaws, upper or lower
- Severely torn lip or nasal cartilage
Common Causes of Facial and Oral Trauma
The causes of maxillofacial trauma number in the hundreds, but the most frequently cited are as follows:
- Slips and falls at home or on the job
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Injuries sustained while playing or observing sports
- Domestic abuse or other interpersonal fighting
- Work-related hazards
- Playing rough (especially in children between the ages of 7 and 18)
First-Aid Treatment of Oral or Facial Injury
On the way to the nearest emergency room or oral and maxillofacial surgeon’s facility, it is important that an injury of this nature be tended in a particular way and as immediately as possible. For example, if a tooth or multiple teeth are knocked out or otherwise removed, they should be quickly placed into a solution of salt water or a cup of milk and brought to the oral and maxillofacial surgeon’s facility for reinsertion. The sooner that the doctor can replace the tooth into its socket, the more likely it is that it will remain there. If the tooth does not survive, however, an implant can take its place. It is crucial that the patient not attempt to clean the tooth or remove the ligaments that are attached to it, as these are critical in reattachment.
In the event of a fractured nose, cheekbone, jaw or eye socket, it is important to get to an emergency facility as soon as possible, but simple first-aid may diminish swelling. Apply a cold compress, taking care to avoid direct contact between ice and skin. If lacerations are present, cleanse the entire area carefully with a sterile gauze pad and appropriate antiseptic. Allow to air dry unless the cuts are bleeding, in which case pressure should be applied to slow the flow. If stitches are necessary, the surgeon will take extensive measures to reduce the amount of scarring to ensure an aesthetically pleasing result.
The rehabilitation of facial and oral trauma patients is only one of the specialty practices of experienced, licensed oral and maxillofacial surgeons. Their training and expertise affords them the ability to approach even the most difficult cases with confidence and allows them to transform the lives of their patients for the best.
Face and Jaw Surgery Center serves all of North Dakota and North West Minnesota including Moorhead, MN and East Grand Forks, MN
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