Andrew Hall of Pocatello wasn’t expecting anything out of the ordinary as he fired up his e-cigarette one day back in January.
Unfortunately for him, his e-cigarette exploded in his face.
The damage was severe, with Hall suffering burns, dislodged teeth and shrapnel lodged in his lips, mouth and throat.
Hall’s misfortune proves that fiery, face-injuring fiascos are not just the stuff of comic books. In fact, facial injuries arise from many incidents that occur everyday across the country. For example, Joyce Law Firm of South Carolina says as many as 70 percent of people involved in automotive collisions sustain facial injuries, caused by everything from flying debris to deploying airbags.
Sports incidents often cause facial injuries, as well. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, 5 million people lose teeth in sports-related injuries every year. Cracked teeth, fractured roots and avulsed (knocked-out) teeth commonly occur on the court or field.
And even if you avoid auto or sports-inflicted facial damage, there are still any number of other accidents out there waiting for you. Tripping, falling, face planting. Encounters with angry wild animals. Malfunctioning electronic devices. Any of these incidents could serve to rearrange your face, and not in a good way.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that even in the event of a fall or car crash, there is a way to save your face. Doctors can rebuild your mangled features and make them better. Stronger. Faster. Well, maybe not stronger or faster, but they can definitely fix you up.
Technological advances in the field of facial and oral surgery can help those who’ve suffered through a facial injury get back to living a normal life. Surgeons can replace missing teeth by using dental implants, which simulate natural teeth by securing a titanium rod in the jaw bone to serve as a root. The bone of the jaw then bonds with the titanium to form a secure fixture for an artificial tooth.
It’s like you never lost the teeth in the first place!
Damaged teeth may need to be removed before implants can be placed or teeth otherwise repaired. In these instances, sedation dentistry is an excellent option for anxious or terrified patients. This technique employs medication to relax patients to a point where work can be performed. Sedation dentistry isn’t a new technique, but it has been gaining popularity in recent years.
Facial injuries involving the jaw can be corrected through orthognathic, or corrective, jaw surgery. Such procedures help to rectify misalignments of the jaw, and not only correct physical and structural problems, but also help improve physical appearance. Think about that. You could actually come out of the procedure better looking!
If your injuries go beyond jaw readjustments or replacing missing teeth, you probably will need some form of reconstructive oral surgery. These procedures correct damage to both soft tissue, like skin and muscles, and hard tissue, like teeth and bone. Through this kind of reconstructive work, the function lost through your injury, as well as your appearance, can be restored.
Injuries that don’t need immediate attention leave you with a choice. Which facial and oral surgery provider should fix you up? You can ask a magic 8-ball or consult a fortune teller. You can even cast Nordic runes on an Icelandic beach. Or maybe just ask your friends and family members. Word of mouth from people you trust is your best bet to help steer you to the right surgeon.
Other great ways to gather information include checking a provider’s credentials and asking health care professionals for their personal recommendations. With a little time and research, you can find the provider that’s right for you.
So work hard, play hard and enjoy living your life. Just remember to wear a seat belt and maybe a helmet. And if you vape, make sure your e-cigarette is in good working order. Your face will thank you!