What to do in the event of facial trauma

Falls, blows to the face, sports- or work-related injuries and vehicle crashes are the most common causes of facial trauma. Serious trauma can lead to facial fractures and damaged, broken or missing teeth.

If you, or someone under your care, has suffered facial trauma, quick action is very important. Call your dentist or oral surgeon immediately to seek advice.

Initial examination

Once you arrive at the clinic, the oral and maxillofacial team will typically check that you don’t have dangerous fractures or injuries to your head or neck before fully analyzing your facial trauma, especially if the event knocked you unconscious.

Next, a visual examination by the oral surgeon will look for issues with mobility, swelling and pain before sending you for x-rays. Most facial fractures will show up clearly in x-rays but for hairline fractures, further imagery may be required.

Reducing the fracture

Reducing the fracture is the medical term for bringing the broken bones back into a normal alignment so that they can then be fixed in place to heal. Sometimes surgery will be required to fix the fracture using plates, screws or wires but the exact treatment plan will vary on a case by case basis and is something that patients will discuss with their oral surgeon.

Numbness

As nerves and soft tissue can be damaged during facial trauma, it is common that patients may experience a numb sensation or strange feeling in the face even after swelling has subsided.

Postop care

Depending on the nature of your injury and treatment, your oral surgeon will explain specific postop care instructions for you to follow. In most cases, this will include avoiding any activity that could cause impact to your face for several weeks in order to allow your bones to fuse and heal completely.