For sports fans and players, fall is a big deal because football, soccer, basketball, and other sports are all starting up. With sports being such a big focus at this time of year, this is the perfect opportunity to talk about sports-related facial trauma injuries.
For most sports, it’s impossible to completely eliminate the risk of facial injury. The face is often one of the least protected areas of the body, so any collision with other players, the ground, or a ball can cause a facial injury. Below is some information about common sports-related facial injuries and how oral and maxillofacial surgeons can help treat them. All of us at Utah Surgical Arts want you to have a fun season, free of injury.
Common Sports-Related Facial Injuries:
Soft Tissue Injuries
Some lacerations and bruises are easily treated at home, though it is always important to see a doctor after any head injury to check for a concussion. To minimize bruising and swelling, apply an ice pack to the affected area. Applying pressure to lacerations using a gauze pad can help to slow any bleeding that occurs. Just remember to change the gauze once it becomes saturated. If bleeding remains consistent and heavy, you may need stitches; luckily oral and maxillofacial surgeons are experts in repairing many different facial wound cases with minimal scarring, if any at all.
Oral soft tissue injuries, like lacerations to the tongue, cheeks, and gums, can be more difficult to treat on your own, but oral surgeons can treat severe oral lacerations using surgical tape, sutures, or dissolvable stitches. Oral surgeons can also help you prevent infection by teaching you proper techniques for cleaning your injury during the recovery period.
Sometimes surgery is the only way to repair nose, cheekbone, and jaw fractures. Oral surgeons secure facial fractures using wires, metal plates, and screws to help the injury heal and to restore the function and aesthetics of your face.
Oral surgeons perform facial fracture repairs in hospital settings as a part of their training, so they understand the delicate balance between the muscles and bones of the face. In fact, many oral surgeons remain on call with local emergency rooms to diagnose and treat facial trauma cases. If you experience a facial trauma, our surgical team will usually see you immediately (usually the same day you call) to diagnose and treat your condition.
Teeth are often chipped, cracked, and even knocked out completely by sports-related injuries. To increase your chance of saving a knocked-out tooth, never try to wipe off the tooth, as tissues important for replacement may still be attached. Instead, put the tooth in a container with some saliva or whole milk and see a dental professional immediately (within 30 minutes if possible).
Sometimes the missing tooth or teeth cannot be restored, and they must be replaced with a prosthesis. Contact our office to learn about tooth replacement options like dental implants or full-arch restoration. Oral surgeons are experts in the restoration of missing teeth through implant dentistry.
Preventing Facial Injuries
Remember to wear all of your sport’s recommended protective gear, mouth guards, and/or face shields at all times, as injuries can even happen during practice. It’s also always smart to have a first aid kit on hand at sports events. We hope you have a fantastic season, free of injuries! Contact us today if you have any questions about the procedures we offer.