If you are a car accident victim with facial injury you are not alone. According to statistics, about 50% of all car accident victims suffer a facial injury and or damage to the teeth.
Your smile is one of your most important features. As a car accident victim with facial injury, there is not only the physical healing you are up against it is the emotional healing as well. Luckily thanks to new dental technologies your smile can be repaired. Learn more about what your dentist can do for you after a car accident.
Most Common Facial Injuries From a Car Accident
A car accident victim with facial injury damage can have a wide range of injuries. The most common injuries affecting the face in a car accident include:
- Fracture jaw. A broken jaw is a very common facial injury in a car accident that often requires oral surgery to set. The victim may have to have their jaw wired into place for about 8 weeks.
- Broken teeth. The front teeth are the most susceptible to injury in a car accident. They often are broken or knocked out.
- Lacerations to the face and gums. It is not unusual to suffer lacerations to the lips, face, and gums during an auto accident.
A car accident victim with facial injury can suffer multiple injuries to the face and mouth. In many cases, the damage is extensive and can take months to correct. Auto accident injuries treatment for a car accident victim with facial injury may require a team of dental and maxillofacial specialists.
For example, you may need to see an oral surgeon that can fix a broken jaw. You may need to see a cosmetic dentist restore missing teeth. You may need to have a general dentist on board to manage the rest of your natural teeth and ensure that they do not become damaged from all the other work that is going to need to be done.
For people that suffer facial injuries after a car accident the road to recovery can be a long one. Long after the collision repair is done on the vehicle you may still have some dental work that needs to be done.
Getting Expert Care
Like any personal injury lawyer will tell you before you get on to any cosmetic care, you will need to get your health stabilized. That means there is an order of priorities in which care you will get. For example, if your jaw is shattered you will need to have plates installed, and have your jaw wired. This would be the priority, not having missing teeth replaced.
You will get to the point where adult teeth straightening after a car accident is part of the process, and you will have missing teeth replaced but medical care is the first priority. Getting the right expert care for the medical necessity repairs first is how you get on the road to recovery.
Some dentists are highly trained in how to care for a car accident victim with facial injury. These dentists are experts in facial trauma and the latest most effective treatment options. Depending on the range of your injuries you may need to see dentists that are also:
- Maxiofacial specialists. A maxillofacial specialist is a dentist that has higher education and well-developed skill set in treating deformities and trauma of the face, neck, and jaw. They are certified as surgeons.
- Orthodontist. An orthodontist specializes in correcting misalignment of teeth. When you are finished with the maxillofacial specialist the orthodontist can step in if need be and correct any misalignments from the accident.
- Cosmetic dentist. The cosmetic dentist will help to restore your smile using prosthetic devices like bridges and partial dentures to replace any missing teeth.
In some cases, you may have to add a periodontist to your team to deal with any gum or tissue loss from the accident. A car accident victim with facial injury will likely get the majority of their care from various dental specialists.
Restoration To Good As New
Dentists cannot treat scarring but they can get your smile back to like-new condition. After you go through all the “necessary” treatments, you can have teeth whitening done by your general dentist to give you a brighter whiter smile than ever before, but it may take a while to get there.
As a car accident victim with facial injury one of the most pressing questions is likely “how long does it take to get through all the procedures?” there is no firm or right answer. How long it takes you to get back to “normal” is highly relative to the type of injuries you sustained in the first place, how quickly your body heals, and what procedures are right for your specific needs.
For example, let’s say you lost a few teeth in the accident. If you have a bridge made, that could be done in weeks, if you choose implants instead that will tack some time on the process. If you have great bone structure and no other injuries to contend with then implants will take less time than if you need some bone grafting to build up the jaw. The time it takes to get all the treatments done is different for everyone.
Some of the things that affect the amount of time it takes to have your oral health restored include:
- Your age. Younger people heal faster than older people. If you are a teenager the time from accident to having all your oral work done is a lot faster, than if you are middle-aged.
- Your overall health. If you have underlying health conditions healing, in general, will take longer. If you have diabetes for instance, the blood flow to your gums can be restricted which means the healing process takes longer.
- The severity of the injury and your dental health before the accident. If you have good oral health before the accident, then it will take less time for the repairs. If your dental health was already in jeopardy there may be unrelated accident work that needs to be done. Each case is evaluated individually.
Patience is key when it comes to healing from facial and oral injuries from a car accident. Your dental professionals will be able to answer all your questions when it comes to the timing of procedures and the amount of time it will take to manage the restoration work.
What Happens When There Was Pre-Existing Conditions?
As a car accident victim with facial injury you may think that the auto insurance company is now responsible for anything that was wrong with your smile before. The answer is yes, and no, they do have to cover the cost of restoring your smile, but only to the level that it was before the accident.
For example, one of your injuries was knocking out your front tooth. The auto insurance company will have to cover the cost of replacing that tooth, but what they do not have to pay for, is repairing the cavities that are in your other teeth.
An attorney can explain your coverage better but think of it this way, if the condition existed before the accident and was not complicated by the accident then the insurance company can refuse to pay. Typically, they do not, but they could.
A health insurance broker can provide you with dental insurance that will cover the other costs. In some cases, if the other work is necessary to restore the teeth damaged in the car accident then the insurance will cover the cost.
On the other hand, if you develop a cavity while the restoration from the accident is going on and it can be shown that keeping up with oral health care is not possible because of the injuries, then the insurance company will pay for the treatment.
The Psychological Aspect
Most people are very connected to their smile. Whether they love their smile or they hate their smile, they think a lot about their smile. When you are a car accident victim with facial injury it has a different effect on your emotional well-being than say a broken leg does.
Many people feel very subconscious about their appearance when they have suffered facial injuries during auto accident injuries. It can be very difficult to cope with. One of the things you can do to make coping easier is to get professional counseling and choose dental care providers that are compassionate.
Learning how to deal with facial injuries will help you stay the course through treatments and keep your eye on the end game when your smile is completely restored. A lot of counselors offer online conferencing services that you can access with personal tablets, laptops, and even smartphones so you can get the help you need right from home.
Having clear open communication with your dental professionals can also help to develop coping skills. The right dentist will be very honest with you about what can and cannot be done to restore your smile. They will have options for almost every situation and work with you and help you to deal with the situation.
What if you were a car accident victim with facial injury a decade or more ago, and you want to take advantage of some of the new technologies. You may be in luck. Many times when a car accident lawsuit is settled there is a provision in that lawsuit that will cover care for up to 20 years in the future.
Contact the attorney that handled your case to find out if that provision was written into your settlement. What if it isn’t? You can work with your dental insurance to see what they will cover, and of course, you can always arrange a payment plan with the dentist if all else fails.
There has been leaps and bounds in the progress of dental technology over the last two decades. For example, implants 20 years ago were pretty much considered still experimental, today they are the standard of care.
Jaw pain, neck pain, and facial pain can be due to old car accident injuries and there may be newer better treatment available today that can be a game-changer for you. The best way to find out what is available is to make an appointment with the dentist, be evaluated, and let them tell you want can be done.
Any car accident victim with facial injury can attest that there will be some dark days ahead, but keep in mind that they are only temporary. With the right dental experts on your side, you will get to a point of healing.
Your team will strategize to come up with a plan that will move you closer to a full recovery with each procedure. You have to trust in the plan, and all you have to do is your part including:
- Keep your appointments. It can be daunting to have so many appointments to keep up with, but it is important that you do. Each appointment is an important appointment even if it is just to do a quick exam to see how you are progressing.
- Follow the care providers’ instructions. You have to do your part and follow the instructions you are given. If you are told to stay on a soft diet, do it. If you are told to rinse your mouth 5 times a day do it. The more compliant you are the quicker you will heal.
- Don’t smoke, don’t vape. Nicotine will impact healing. As a matter of fact, nicotine can undo all the progress that you make. Just don’t smoke and don’t vape either.
No one is saying the process won’t be frustrating, but you have to stay the course and work closely with your dental professionals. Following their guidance and doing your part will help you to heal faster and get results quicker.
There are solutions available for a car accident victim with facial injury. You can get to a place for full recovery and healing. You just need the right dental specialists on your side and to commit to the process.