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Bone Injuries in the Maxillofacial Region

Fractures in 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 determined by the patient’s specific circumstances, such as the location and severity of the fracture, age and general health.

When an arm or leg is fractured, a cast is often applied to stabilize the bone to allow for proper healing. Since a cast cannot be placed on the face, other means have been developed to stabilize facial fractures. One option involves wiring the jaws together for certain fractures in the upper and/or lower jaw. Other fractures of the jaw can be stabilized by the surgical placement of small plates and screws. This treatment technique, referred to as rigid fixation often allows for healing and negates the need of having the jaws wired together. The relatively recent development and use of rigid fixation has profoundly improved the recovery period for many patients, allowing them to return to normal function more quickly.

The treatment of facial fractures should be accomplished in a thorough and predictable manner. Most importantly, the patient’s facial appearance should be only minimally affected. Dr. Greeff always attempt to access the facial bones through as few incisions as possible. Those incisions that are necessary are designed to be small and, whenever possible, placed so that the resulting scar is hidden.

Injuries to the Teeth and Surrounding Structures

Isolated injuries to teeth are quite common. However, depending on the circumstances, they may still require the expertise of various dental specialists. Oral surgeons are typically involved in treating fractures in the supporting bone, or in replacing teeth that have been displaced or knocked out. These injuries may be treated by a form of splinting, which is 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 socket, the better chances it will survive. An individual in this situation should see a dentist or oral surgeon as soon as possible. Never attempt to wipe the tooth off, since the 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, such as endodontists, may be called upon to perform root canal therapy. And a restorative dentist may need to repair or rebuild fractured teeth. In the event that the injured teeth cannot be saved or repaired, dental implants are often utilized as a replacement for the missing teeth.