Dental reconstruction refers to procedures performed to treat patients with facial injuries or trauma. Facial injuries, by their very nature, cause severe emotional and physical trauma to patients. Treating patients with facial injuries requires special training and understanding of how the reconstruction will influence the patient’s long-term function and appearance.
If you have experienced facial trauma and are in need of dental reconstruction, please call our experienced dental care specialists at Dlight Dental. We can work to help you determine the treatments that best fit your needs.
What causes facial trauma?
Facial trauma can result from a number of reasons such as:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Accidental falls
- Injury from sports
- Injury from interpersonal violence
- Injury at work
Types of facial injuries
Facial trauma can include everything from relatively minor damage to the teeth to extremely severe injuries that involve the skin, bones, and soft tissue of the face. Typically, facial injuries can be classified into three groups:
- Injuries to the Teeth & Surrounding Dental Structures (e.g., avulsed or knocked out teeth)
- Soft tissue injuries that involve the skin and gums (facial lacerations, intraoral lacerations, and other injuries of the oral and maxillofacial region)
- Bone injuries (e.g., fractures of facial and/or jawbones and other such injuries of the oral and maxillofacial region)
Dental Reconstruction Treatment for Facial Injuries & Facial Trauma
The specific nature of dental reconstruction treatment for a facial injury will depend on several factors such as the type, location, and severity of the injury and the patient’s age and health status. Sometimes, facial trauma also involves damage to special regions such as the eyes, facial nerves, or the salivary glands. These cases need specific treatments of their own.
Injuries to the Teeth & Surrounding Dental Structures
Generally, the treatments of injuries to teeth involve replanting (replacing any displaced teeth) and treating fractures in the supporting bone. Replanting can be done if the patient completely recovers the knocked out tooth. The sooner the tooth is reinserted into its dental socket, the better its chances for survival.
If a tooth is knocked out, it should be placed in salt water or milk and brought to our dentists as soon as possible. Never try to wipe-off a knocked out tooth. The remnants of the ligament that hold the tooth to the jaw will be attached to it, and these tissues are critical to the successful replanting of the tooth.
Soft Tissue Injuries
Soft tissue injuries can typically be repaired using sutures or stitches. In addition to providing a repair, we take special care to use techniques that yield the best cosmetic results possible. We also conduct a thorough inspection and treat injuries that may have occurred to structures such as the facial nerves, salivary glands, and salivary ducts.
Bone Fracture Injuries
The general principle for treating dental and facial bone fractures is similar to treating bones in any other part of the body. That is, the fracture has to be stabilized and immobilized to allow for proper healing. Since a cast cannot be applied to the face, there are alternate means for stabilizing facial fractures.
One such option for certain fractures of the upper and lower jaw involves wiring the jaws together. Another option, which is more innovative, involves the surgical placement of small plates and screws at the affected site. This technique is called rigid fixation of a fracture.
A critical aspect in the treatment of facial fractures is that it should be implemented in a thorough and predictable manner. The patient’s facial appearance should be minimally affected. We take great care to ensure that access to the facial bones is made through the least number of incisions necessary. However, when incisions are needed, they will be designed to be as small as possible so that any resultant scars are hidden.