How to Handle a Sudden Oral or Facial Injury

Some of the most common and most serious external injuries sustained are facial and oral trauma, mostly due to their proximity to the brain, brainstem and spinal cord. The immense concentrations of nerve endings in the mouth and face can also lead to substantial pain and damage.

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Naturally, in the event of a sudden oral or facial injury it is best to err on the side of caution and consult a licensed medical professional as soon as possible to undergo a complete evaluation. Even a minor blow to the mouth or face can result in serious internal damage that may 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 by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon:

  • Forcibly removed teeth
  • Fractured facial bones including the nose, eye socket and cheekbones
  • Fractured upper or lower jaws
  • Lacerations of the face
  • Lacerations within the mouth
  • Severely torn lip or nasal cartilage


Common Activities that May Result in Facial and Oral Trauma

Although there are hundreds of different causes of maxillofacial trauma, the most frequently cited are:

  • Slips and falls at home or at work
  • Various work-related hazards
  • Injuries received while playing or observing sports
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Domestic abuse or other forms of physical altercations
  • Playing rough (especially in children between 7 and 18 years of age)


First-Aid Treatment of an Oral or Facial Injury

It is important that an injury of this nature be tended to in a particular way and as soon as possible while you are on the way to the nearest emergency room or oral and maxillofacial surgeon’s office. For example, a tooth or teeth knocked out or otherwise forcibly removed should be tended to in a specific way. The tooth or teeth should be quickly placed in a solution of salt water or a cup of milk and brought with the patient for reinsertion. It is crucial to remember not to clean the tooth or remove the ligaments that are attached to it, as these are critical for reattachment. The sooner the surgeon can replace or reinsert the tooth into its socket, the better. If, however, the tooth does not survive or is not in good enough condition to reinsert, an implant can take its place.

A fractured nose, cheekbone, jaw or eye socket warrants immediate medical attention, but simple first-aid may help in the meantime. Applying a cold press, taking care to avoid direct contact between ice and skin, will help to diminish swelling. If lacerations are present, cleanse the entire area carefully with an appropriate antiseptic and sterile gauze pad. If the cuts are bleeding, pressure should be applied to slow the flow. If the cuts have stopped bleeding, allow the cleansed area to air dry. Surgeons are trained to administer stitches in a manner that will ensure the most aesthetically pleasing result, so do not be concerned if stitches are required.

The rehabilitation of facial and oral trauma patients is only one of the many specialty practices of oral and maxillofacial surgeons. The training and expertise of experienced, licensed oral and maxillofacial surgeons 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 better.

Face and Jaw Surgery Center serves all of North Dakota and Northwest Minnesota including Moorhead, MN and East Grand Forks, MN.
Bismarck, ND office
Fargo, ND office
Grand Forks, ND office
Minot, ND office

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