Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are experts in treating and repairing facial trauma, including fractures of the upper and lower jaws and the orbits surrounding the eyes, and facial lacerations. Their knowledge of how jaws come together (dental occlusion) is critical when repairing complex facial fractures. In fact, the American College of Surgeons' guidelines for optimal care require Level I and II trauma centers, those that treat the most serious and complex facial trauma patients, to have oral and maxillofacial surgeons on call to perform complex reconstruction of the mouth, face and jaws. Moreover, many of the techniques that are standard in today's hospital emergency rooms were developed by oral and maxillofacial surgeons in combat hospitals during World War II, Korea, Vietnam and today's international conflicts.
Trauma does not only result from major events like combat or automobile accidents. Childhood facial injuries caused by skateboards, sports or bicycle accidents frequently involve dental or maxillofacial trauma. Younger children often sustain damage to teeth or supporting structures from falls. The use of safe and effective sedation techniques allow traumatic injuries to be effectively treated in the oral and maxillofacial surgery office, avoiding costly emergency room visits.