The involvement of oral and maxillofacial surgeons in the management of trauma represents one of the defining moments of the specialty. Prior to this, the dental specialty of oral surgery focused on the management of dental- related pathology. The first Great War, 1914 – 1918, presented many demanding opportunities for dentists to contribute special knowledge and skills in occlusal relationship, fracture stabilization and prosthetic reconstruction for the management of soldiers with devastating facial injuries. Rising to the occasion, noted dentists such as Varaztad Kazanjian developed techniques for the management of maxillofacial trauma, which remain relevant to this day. In the process of doing so, he not only established a role for the dentist-surgeon in the management of facial trauma, but helped found the specialty of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
Ten decades later, the management of maxillofacial trauma is fundamental to the training and practice of oral and maxillofacial surgeons. Along with the treatment of odontogenic infections, it remains a principle justification for the presence of oral and maxillofacial surgeons in a hospital environment. Building upon this involvement, substantial parts of the specialty’s foundations were laid especially in the areas of orthognathic and craniofacial surgery. Presently, oral and maxillofacial surgeons are an essential component of a hospital’s facial trauma team, if not the entire team. We have incorporated principles of fracture management developed by orthopedic surgeons as well novel materials invented by bioengineers into the surgical armamentarium. With the growth of experience and expertise, a substantial research, innovation, and publication record has firmly established the role of oral and maxillofacial surgeons in the management of craniomaxillofacial trauma.