At one time or another, everyone has had a minor facial injury that
caused pain, swelling, or bruising. Home treatment is
usually all that is needed for mild bumps or bruises.
It may be
helpful to be familiar with the makeup of the facial bones to better understand
facial injuries. See a picture of the
facial bones .
Causes of facial injuries
Facial injuries most
commonly occur during:
- Sports or recreational activities, such as ice
hockey, basketball, rugby, soccer, or martial arts.
tasks or projects around the home.
- Motor vehicle crashes.
- Accidental falls.
In children, most facial injuries occur during sports or
play or are caused by accidental falls. Minor facial injuries in young children
tend to be less severe than similar facial injuries that occur in older
children or adults. Young children are less likely to break a facial bone
because they have fat pads that cushion their faces and their bones are more
flexible. But young children are more likely to be bitten in the face by
Head injuries may occur at the same time as a facial
injury, so be sure to check for
symptoms of a head injury. For more information, see
Head Injuries, Age 3 and Younger or
Head Injuries, Age 4 and Older.
Types of injuries
Facial injuries may be caused by a
direct blow, penetrating injury, or fall. Pain may be sudden and severe.
Bruising and swelling may develop soon after the injury. Acute injuries
cut or puncture to your face or inside your mouth. This often occurs with
even a minor injury. But a cut or puncture is likely to occur when a jaw
or facial bone is broken. The bone may come through the skin or poke into the
- Bruises from a tear or rupture of small blood vessels
under the skin. See a picture of a
bruise (contusion) .
- Broken bones (fractures). See an image of a
fractured cheekbone .
- A dislocated jaw, which may occur when the lower
jawbone (mandible) is pulled apart from one or both of the joints connecting it
to the base of the skull at the temporomandibular (TM) joints. This can cause
problems even if the jaw pops back into place.
Treatment for a facial injury may include
first aid measures, medicine, and in some cases surgery. Treatment depends
- The location, type, and severity of the
- How long ago the injury occurred.
- Your age,
health condition, and other activities, such as work, sports, or hobbies.
When you have had a facial injury, it is important to
look for signs of other injuries, such as a
eye injury, or an injury to the mouth, such as a cut
lip or injured tooth.
Check your symptoms to decide
if and when you should see a doctor.