Bay Area Oral & Facial Surgery
Oral & Facial Surgery
San Francisco CA
415-392-3122

Facial Trauma

Procedures

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Dr. Tom, Dr. Silva, and Dr. Connelly are trained, skilled and uniquely qualified to manage and treat dental and jaw trauma. 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.

The following conditions in many cases are easily treated in the office setting:

  • Intra oral lacerations
  • Avulsed (knocked out) teeth
  • Fractured lower jaw

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 soft tissue injuries (skin and gums), bone injuries (fractures), or injuries to special regions (such as the eyes, facial nerves or the salivary glands).

Soft Tissue Injuries

Lacerations of the lips, tongue and gums can be repaired in the office by Dr. Tom, Dr. Silva or Dr. Connelly. Patients are typically placed on antibiotics and pain medication. With good oral hygiene and soft diet, healing is rapid.

Bone Injuries of the Jaw

When an arm or a leg is fractured, a cast is often applied to stabilize the bone to allow for proper healing. When the lower jaw is fractured, a cast cannot be placed on the face. Therefore, other means have been developed to stabilize jaw fractures.

One of these options involves wiring the jaws together for certain fractures. This type of treatment for uncomplicated fractures can be done in the office by Dr. Tom, Dr. Silva or Dr. Connelly. Certain other types of fractures of the jaw are best treated and stabilized by the surgical placement of small plates and screws at the involved site. If this type of treatment is needed, Dr. Tom, Dr. Silva, and Dr. Connelly will refer you to their colleagues at UCSF Medical Center.

Injuries to the Teeth & Surrounding Dental Structures

facial injuries san francisco

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 right away. The sooner the tooth is re-inserted into the dental socket, the better chance it will survive. Therefore, the patient should see an 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.

The proper treatment of facial injuries is now the realm of specialists, such as Dr. Tom, Dr. Silva, and Dr. Connelly, who are well versed in emergency care, acute treatment, long-term reconstruction, and rehabilitation of the patient.