What Happens When Winter Sports Leave You With a Maxillofacial Injury
What happens when facial trauma from winter sports and snow accidents lead to facial and maxillary trauma to the hard parts (bones and teeth) and soft tissue (skin and gums) of your body? Whether you are injured from snowmobiling, skiing or snowboarding, or have an accidental fall on the ice while carrying groceries, you might incur severe maxillofacial trauma that requires professional help.
– Facial and or intraoral lacerations (facial nerves, salivary glands, etc.)
– Dentoalveolar trauma such as avulsed (knocked out) teeth
– Fractured facial bones (cheek, nose or eye socket)
– Fractured mandible (upper and lower jaw)
Snowmobiling is a winter favorite for many, but reaching speeds of up to 190 km/h on a 60-horsepower engine can result in severe injury when something unforeseen happens. Any collision with another object, vehicle or a rollover can leave trauma to the head, neck and spinal cord.
And while accidents can happen from driving at excessive speeds, other factors such as poor visibility or consuming alcohol can also result in accidental injury. Wearing a helmet, a mouthguard and exercising caution can go a long way to protecting yourself from such injury. But when accidents happen, our skilled team is ready to step in and help restore your oral health.
To repair damage to the soft tissues in the face, we suture while taking into account the structures and cosmetic results for a positive outcome. Treating fractures in the facial bones is similar to treating fractures anywhere in the body. The course of treatment depends on where the fracture is located, how bad the fracture is as well as the age and overall health of the patient. Unlike treating a fractured limb, however, we stabilize facial fractures not with a cast, but wiring the jaws together or surgically placing small plates and screws (rigid fixation) to facilitate healing. This rigid fixation, as it is known, both improves and speeds up patient recovery.
While treating and healing an oral injury is our primary goal, we also make sure facial appearance is minimally impacted by our treatment. This means minimizing incisions (and scarring) by placing them discreetly. For dental injuries such as fractures in the supportive jaw bone, or replanting teeth that have been knocked out, we often stabilize the area by splinting. This might involve wiring or bonding of neighboring teeth.
When treating a knocked-out tooth, timing is crucial to ensure the tooth’s survival. First, you will want to place the tooth in milk, saliva or salt water. Never clean the tooth beforehand because we will need the ligaments attached to increase the odds of a successful replant. Call us (or your dentist) right away if you have a tooth knocked out. If a tooth can’t be saved, it may be replaced with a dental implant.
If you are actively involved in winter sports and recreation, you can protect yourself by wearing a helmet and a sports guard. If you are walking on ice, you can wear cleats on the bottom of your shoes to navigate icy pavement more safely. But in the event of an accident or injury, our skilled team is prepared to assist you with your oral facial injuries and to do so in a way that restores your form, function and appearance. If you have any questions or concerns about your oral facial health, please feel free to reach out to our team today!