Facial Trauma

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons are trained to manage and treat facial trauma. Dr. VanHoose is on staff at Spectrum Hospital and provides emergency room coverage for facial injuries including all aspects of maxillofacial trauma.

Injuries to the face cause emotional, as well as physical trauma to patients. The art of treating these injuries requires special training and an understanding of how the treatment provided will influence the patient's long term function and appearance.

There are a number of possible causes of facial trauma. Motor vehicle accidents, accidental falls, sports injuries, interpersonal violence and work related injuries account for many. Types of facial injuries can range from injuries of teeth to extremely severe injuries of the skin and bones of the face. Typically, facial injuries are classified as either soft tissue injuries, bony injuries, or injuries to special sensory regions.

When cuts or lacerations occur on the face, they are repaired by suturing which usually yields the best cosmetic result. Also, care is taken to treat injuries to structures such as facial nerves, salivary glands and salivary ducts. Dr. VanHoose is proficient at diagnosing and treating all types of facial lacerations.

Fractures of 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 various factors, which include the location of the fracture, the severity of the fracture, and the age and general health of the patient. One of these options involves wiring the jaws together. However, certain other types of fractures of the jaw are best treated and stabilized by the surgical placement of small plates and screws at the involved site. This technique of treatment can often allow for healing and eliminate the need to wire the jaws together. This technique is called rigid fixation of a fracture. The relatively recent development and use of rigid fixation has profoundly improved the recovery period for many patients by allowing them to return to normal function more quickly. Furthermore, Dr. VanHoose may sometimes, especially in growing children, opt to use resorbable plates and screws that dissolve away.

The treatment of facial fractures should be accomplished in a thorough and predictable manner. Importantly, the patient's facial appearance should be minimally affected. An attempt at accessing the facial bones through the fewest incisions necessary is always made. At the same time, the incisions that become necessary are designed to be small and, whenever possible, are placed so that the resultant scar is hidden.

Injuries to teeth are common and require the expertise of a oral surgeon. A fracture in the bone supporting the teeth or replacing a tooth, which has been knocked out are best, treated by trained surgeons. These types of injuries are treated by one of a number of forms of stabilization which consists of wiring or bonding teeth together. Your dentist may recommend a root canal or may need to repair fractured teeth. In the event that injured teeth cannot be saved or repaired, dental implants are often used as replacements for missing teeth.

Call our Caledonia, MI office at (616) 891-1700 or our Alpine, MI office at (616)785-1700 to make an appointment!

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