Oral and maxillofacial surgeons (OMS) are the most experienced when it comes to treating facial injury and trauma. In fact, many of the standard techniques used in hospital emergency rooms today were developed by oral and maxillofacial surgeons serving in combat hospitals. They are trained to treat facial injury and trauma in both adults and children.
If you or your child have a facial or mouth injury that requires an emergency room visit, you can request an OMS consult. At Marshall Health, our oral and maxillofacial surgeon provides 24-hour service to the Cabell Huntington Hospital and St. Mary's Medical Center Emergency Rooms.
Common causes of maxillofacial trauma
- Sports injuries – always wear protective headgear and mouth guards.
- Car accidents
- Work-related accidents
- Violence and/or fighting
- Gunshot injuries to the face
Types of maxillofacial injuries
- Soft tissue injuries. Lacerations of the face and mouth are repaired by cleaning and suturing the tissue, as needed, under general or local anesthesia, as needed, to achieve the best cosmetic outcome. In addition to addressing any cosmetic deficits of the injury post treatment, special care is taken to ensure proper positioning of nerves, glands and ducts in order to avoid medical complications.
- Tooth injuries. Teeth that have been knocked out, or avulsed, may be saved if you act quickly. If your tooth is knocked out, pick it up by the crown or chewing surface (never the root), rinse it with water and put it back in its socket. Hold it in place with your fingers or by biting down. In younger children do not do this if there is risk of swallowing or inhaling the tooth. Make sure to keep the tooth moist at all times by keeping it in your mouth (even if it cannot go in the socket), placing it in milk or using an emergency tooth preservation kit. Do not use water. Make sure to see your dentist within 30 minutes of the injury; however, it is possible to save a tooth even if it has been an hour or more.
- Fractured or broken facial bones and jaws. This includes injuries to the face including the cheek, upper and lower jaw, nose or eye socket. These fractures are often treated with plates and screws to secure and stabilize the fracture. Sometimes for special fractures and under special circumstances the jaws may have to be “wired shut.”