Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are uniquely qualified to manage facial trauma. Since many facial injuries involve the teeth and jaws, the expertise of an oral and maxillofacial surgeon is often needed to make sure that the teeth and jaws are properly aligned when the bones of the face and jaws are repaired.
Modern surgical techniques allow the surgeon to restore proper form and function even in cases of severe injuries. Such techniques involve the use of mini titanium plates and screws to mend fractured facial bones. This is known as rigid internal fixation. Rigid internal fixation allows the surgeon to restore proper form by holding facial bones together in their anatomic position. Rigid internal fixation also decreases the need to wire a patient's jaw shut (interdental fixation) after a jaw or facial fracture.
The proper use of vehicle restraints and the advent of air bags have greatly reduced the incidence of facial fractures and other injuries to the face. However, more and more individuals are engaging in outdoor activities such as road and mountain biking. Additionally, the use of motorcycles, skateboards, and scooters is becoming more popular. An ounce of protection goes a long way. Therefore, the proper use of a helmet is imperative. To help prevent injury to the face and jaws, the use of a helmet with additional face protection should be strongly considered.
An incidence of trauma to the face and jaws can be devastating from a psychological and financial perspective. Prevention is the key.