If you were to sustain a sudden facial trauma or injury with cuts that require stitches by our oral maxillofacial surgeon, we would evaluate your facial structure. Should you break a bone, either in your face or in your jaw (something that is fairly common), the assessment would take into account how it will impact your speech, biting and chewing abilities. Depending on the severity of your facial injury, you might need only one area fixed while in extreme cases, you could require a full mouth reconstruction.
Common Causes of Facial Trauma
The bones in your face that can suffer trauma include:
-Forehead, or frontal bone
-Orbital bones, or eye sockets
-Jaws (the upper jaw, or maxillary and the lower jaw, or mandible)
Unlike a break in a bone such as a leg or an arm where a cast can be made to stabilize the area as the bone heals, our oral maxillofacial surgeon uses methods that involve wiring the jaws along with rigid fixation using screws and small plates. Should you have a fracture to your jawbone, this can cause trouble breathing, chewing and even speaking properly.
But one of the biggest reasons for having an oral maxillofacial surgeon conduct your treatment (and healing) is that the structures of the face are delicate, holding lots of sensory nerves that could create a loss of sensation in the affected nerve endings. The face is also connected to the central nervous system, where facial damage can affect the spinal cord. So what can you anticipate from having facial trauma surgery to repair an injury to your jaw or face?
At-Home Surgical After Care
Initially, you will want to take it easy and rest whenever you need to. Rest is a vital part of recovery. Sleep maximizes healing, and now is the time to make sure your body gets all the sleep it needs. Because of the injury to the face, you should elevate your head with extra pillows than you normally use. If sleeping in your bed isn’t helping, try sleeping in a recliner.
Stay away from any activities that might potentially reinjure your face and jaw. You might also not be able to drive for a while because of your medications and how you are feeling. We will also work with you to be able to speak and chew properly again.
You’ll want to stick to soft foods like soups, stews, smoothies and other liquids to get proper nourishment without stressing your facial structures. Once you are cleared to use a straw, this can help alleviate harming the area as well. Staying well hydrated, including plenty of water, gives your body what it needs to recover and avoid dehydration.
Stay on top of your pain medications while your facial trauma recovery process is underway. Be sure to take them only as directed. They are potentially addictive, so only take them per your instructions. Antibiotics need to be taken exactly as prescribed so take them all until they are gone to avoid relapsing with an infection.
You can expect your facial areas to feel sore for a couple of weeks afterward and any stitches to your mouth, jaw or face will typically be taken out after a week. Keep in mind that complete healing can take up to several months.
If you sustained a severe facial injury, you might have to consider that your face may not look like it did before the accident. But with the help of our experienced oral maxillofacial surgeon, we can work to help your face look as close as possible to your pre-injury condition.
You will need to attend any surgical follow-up appointments with our facial trauma surgeon as you navigate your healing and recovery process. Should you have any questions or concerns, we welcome you to call our office. We are always a phone call away!