Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons are trained, skilled and uniquely qualified to manage and treat facial trauma. Injuries to the face, by their very nature, impart a high degree of emotional, as well as physical trauma to patients.
Dr. Lussier is on staff at Hill Country Memorial Hospital in Fredericksburg to deliver emergency room coverage for facial injuries, which include the following conditions:
Avulsed (knocked out) teeth
Fractured facial bones (cheek, nose or eye socket)
Fractured jaws (upper and lower jaw)
Cause Of Maxillofacial Trauma
Facial trauma can occur in motor vehicle accidents, falls, sports injuries, interpersonal violence, and work-related injuries. Types of facial injuries can range from injuries of teeth to severe injuries of the skin, muscle, bones, and other vital structures of the face.
Soft Tissue Injuries
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). Dr. Lussier is proficient at diagnosing and treating all types of facial lacerations.
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 varies by the location & severity of the fracture, the age & general health of the patient.
Fractures of the face and jaw may be treated and stabilized by the surgical placement of small plates and screws. This technique of treatment can often allow for healing and does not require having the jaws wired together. This technique is called "rigid fixation" which has profoundly improved the recovery period for many patients, allowing them to return to normal function more quickly. Rarely, treatment may involve wiring the jaws together for certain fractures of the jaws.
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.
Injuries in the Mouth
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). If a tooth is knocked out, it should be placed in salt water or milk. The sooner the tooth is re-inserted into the dental socket, the better chance it will survive. 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. 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.