INTRODUCTION — Nearly one-half of children sustain some type of dental injury during childhood. Many of these injuries are preventable. The injuries that result in the loss of permanent teeth may have long-lasting cosmetic, functional, economic, and psychosocial effects [1-5]. The outcome for a number of dental injuries, which may be uncertain until the permanent dentition is established, is improved by prompt, appropriate treatment and referral.
This topic will cover injuries of the teeth. The anatomy and development of the teeth; intra-oral, lip, and tongue lacerations; and the assessment and management of jaw injuries are discussed separately:
EPIDEMIOLOGY — An estimated 30 percent of preschool children suffer injuries to the primary dentition; the prevalence is equal between boys and girls . By contrast, dental trauma to the permanent dentition in school-age children is more common in males than females [2,6-9]. These figures underestimate the occurrence of dental trauma because minor trauma is underreported. Thus, a safe assumption is that up to 50 percent of children will sustain a dental injury [10,11]. Dental trauma must not be overlooked as a marker for child abuse. Orofacial injury occurs in as many as 75 percent of abused children [12-14].
The most commonly injured teeth are the maxillary central incisors, followed by the maxillary lateral incisors and the mandibular incisors [2,15-20]. The ability of the upper lip to protect the maxillary teeth is affected by the degree of prominence of the anterior teeth. The normal horizontal distance between the maxillary and mandibular incisors (overjet) is between 1 and 3 mm. Overjets greater than 4 mm increase the likelihood of dental trauma by two to three times (picture 1) [21,22].
Additional risk factors for dental trauma include mobility problems, physical disabilities (eg, cerebral palsy, seizure disorders) [16,23], and the use of fixed orthodontic appliances . The mobility of the incisors in children with localized juvenile periodontitis predisposes them to luxation injuries. (See "Gingivitis and periodontitis in children and adolescents", section on 'Rapidly progressing (high-grade) periodontitis'.)
Falls are the most frequent cause of dental trauma among preschool and school-age children; most falls occur inside the home [11,15,22,25,26]. Sports-related injuries and altercations are more common etiologies in adolescents [4,16,26,27]. (See "Prevention of falls and fall-related injuries in children", section on 'General epidemiology'.)
DENTOALVEOLAR INJURY CLASSIFICATION
Primary versus permanent tooth — It is essential to distinguish between injuries to primary or permanent teeth. The type of tooth can be determined from the appearance of the tooth and the child’s age (figure 1) as follows :
●Permanent incisors are only scalloped during eruption and then they wear to a smooth edge
●Primary teeth are much smaller than secondary teeth
●All teeth are primary for most children age five years and younger
●Permanent incisors usually erupt around six to seven years of age
●Mixed dentition (primary and permanent teeth) are present in children 6 to 12 years of age
●All teeth are permanent in most children 13 years of age and older
Parental report of shedding of primary teeth also provides important information in children who are at transitional ages for primary and secondary teeth (ie, age 6 and age 12 years).
●Infraction – Infracted teeth are intact but display surface cracks on the enamel, which are best appreciated by shining a bright light onto the crown of the tooth.
●Uncomplicated crown fracture – Uncomplicated crown fractures consist of two types:
•Enamel only (picture 2) – The affected tooth is chipped. Pain is typically absent but may be elicited with manipulation.
•Enamel and dentin – The chipped tooth has exposed dentin. The tooth is sensitive to touch and temperature.
●Complicated crown fracture (picture 3) – Complicated crown fractures have associated exposure of the pulp. These injuries have an increased risk of infection.
●Root fracture – Fractures of the root may or may not also involve the crown (crown-root fracture (picture 4)). If the crown is not involved, a root fracture is suggested by mobility of the crown. Dental radiographs are necessary to confirm a root fracture. Root fractures may be horizontal, vertical, or oblique.
●Alveolar fracture – Fracture of the alveolus causes dislocation of multiple teeth that move together with palpation.
Luxation injuries — Luxation injuries involve the supporting structures of the teeth, including the periodontal ligament and alveolar bone. The primary goal in the treatment of luxation injuries is to maintain the vitality of the periodontal ligament, which supports the tooth in its socket (figure 2). Luxation injuries are classified as follows (table 1) [7,29]:
●Concussion – The tooth is neither loose nor displaced; it may be tender with the pressure of biting because of inflammation of the periodontal ligament.
●Subluxation – The tooth is loose, but not displaced from its socket; the periodontal ligament fibers are damaged and inflamed.
●Intrusion – The tooth is driven into the socket, compressing the periodontal ligament and fracturing the alveolar socket.
●Extrusion – The tooth is centrally dislocated from its socket; the periodontal ligament is lacerated and inflamed (picture 5).
●Lateral luxation – The tooth is displaced anteriorly, posteriorly, or laterally; the periodontal ligament is lacerated, and the supporting bone is fractured (picture 6).
●Avulsion – The tooth is completely displaced from the alveolar ridge; the periodontal ligament is severed, and fracture of the alveolus may occur.
History — Key historical information includes:
●Mechanism of injury – High force injuries to the teeth are associated with the potential for head and neck trauma. (See "Evaluation and acute management of cervical spine injuries in children and adolescents", section on 'Mechanism of injury' and "Minor blunt head trauma in infants and young children (<2 years): Clinical features and evaluation".)
Serious dental injuries without a plausible explanation are suspicious for child abuse, especially in nonambulatory children. (See "Physical child abuse: Recognition", section on 'Oral or nasal injuries'.)
●Time of injury – The time that has elapsed since the injury took place affects the treatment and, in most cases, the prognosis, especially for children with permanent tooth avulsions [7,10]. (See 'Avulsions' below.)
●Associated symptoms – A history of loss of consciousness, altered mental status, visual disturbance, or other neurologic symptoms after the trauma raises the concern for clinically important traumatic brain injury. (See "Minor blunt head trauma in infants and young children (<2 years): Clinical features and evaluation", section on 'History' and "Minor blunt head trauma in children (≥2 years): Clinical features and evaluation", section on 'History'.)
Neck pain may indicate cervical spine injury. (See "Evaluation and acute management of cervical spine injuries in children and adolescents".)
Jaw pain or pain on opening or closing the mouth suggests a jaw fracture. (See "Mandibular (jaw) fractures in children".)
●Symptoms of serious dental injury – Positive responses to any of the following questions suggest an injury requiring prompt dental referral (see 'Indications for dental consultation or referral' below):
•Does the child have spontaneous pain in any teeth as a result of the injury? (Such pain indicates pulp exposure or inflammation.)
•Are any of the teeth tender to touch or the pressure of eating? (Such tenderness indicates periodontal ligament damage or displacement.)
•Are any of the teeth sensitive to hot or cold? (Such sensitivity indicates pulp exposure or inflammation.)
•Is there a change in the child's bite or occlusion? (Such a change indicates displaced teeth, jaw fracture or facial fracture. Oral surgery consultation may also be needed.)
Important components of the past medical history include cardiac conditions warranting antibiotic prophylaxis for bacterial endocarditis, current medications, drug allergies, and status of tetanus immunization. (See "Prevention of endocarditis: Antibiotic prophylaxis and other measures".)
Examination — Children with dental trauma warrant careful examination of the head and neck to identify any serious head trauma or cervical spine injury. (See "Minor blunt head trauma in infants and young children (<2 years): Clinical features and evaluation" and "Evaluation and acute management of cervical spine injuries in children and adolescents".)
Children with dental trauma should also be evaluated for findings suggestive of child abuse including (see "Physical child abuse: Recognition", section on 'Red flag physical findings'):
●Bruises in various stages of healing (indicate multiple traumatic incidents)
●Bruising of the labial sulcus or torn upper labial frenula in nonambulatory children
●Bruising of the soft tissues of the cheek or neck (accidental falls are more likely to bruise the forehead or chin)
●Human hand marks or pinch marks on the cheeks and ears
The oral examination should take careful note of the teeth involved (figure 3 and figure 4), evidence of dental trauma, and the presence of soft tissue injury. The presence of dental fractures or luxation should be identified. (See 'Dentoalveolar injury classification' above.)
The child should also be evaluated for malocclusion by asking them to open their mouth wide, to move it left and right and to close completely. Limited movement or wincing while attempting to move it could signal alveolar fracture or trismus of the masticatory muscles. Pain with biting is assessed by having the patient bite down on a tongue blade positioned along the molars.
Clinical photographs — Whenever feasible, clinical photographs should be part of routine documentation of traumatic injuries to the teeth . Good-quality clinical images taken at the initial injury have great value in diagnosis and recording of data even after the patient's discharge. Such images will serve as a baseline to monitor healing at the future follow-up visits. Clinical photographs can also be used for consultation with other specialists via telemedicine. When families have pictures of children taken prior to traumatic injury, those images can also be added to patient's record to serve as reference in diagnosing the type and severity of injuries to the teeth.
Radiographs — Children who have dental pain, visible or suspected fractures, luxation, or discoloration after an injury should have dental radiographs taken to assess the severity of displacement or the occurrence of a root fracture, bony fracture, or permanent tooth bud displacement [20,31,32]. In addition, these radiographs record the baseline status of the alveolus around the dental roots. Depending upon the severity of the injury, radiographic follow-up may be indicated at monthly intervals to monitor pulpal necrosis and/or root resorption.
Patients with dental trauma who have associated malocclusion, malalignment or mobility of mandibular segments, difficulty opening or pain with opening and closing the mouth, or other findings of a potential jaw fracture warrant panoramic radiographs (Panorex) or computed tomography (CT) to assess for an associated jaw fracture. (See "Mandibular (jaw) fractures in children", section on 'Clinical features' and "Mandibular (jaw) fractures in children", section on 'Imaging'.)
DIAGNOSIS — Dental injuries are suspected based upon clinical findings (figure 2 and table 1). In children with dental pain, fracture, luxation, or discoloration after an injury, dental radiographs confirm the diagnosis and assess the severity of bony or root fractures or permanent tooth bud displacement.
INDICATIONS FOR DENTAL CONSULTATION OR REFERRAL — When identifying a consultant, prior experience with dental trauma is the most important criteria. Patients with the following injuries warrant urgent referral to a dentist or clinician with similar expertise (eg, oral surgeon, pediatric dentist or endodontist):
●Avulsed permanent tooth (after replantation whenever possible) (see 'Avulsions' below)
●Extrusion >3 mm or interfering with bite
●Laterally luxated (displaced) teeth that interfere with bite
●Intruded primary teeth
●Fractured teeth when dental pulp is exposed (bleeding from central core of the tooth)
●Fractured permanent teeth (store tooth fragments in tap water to prevent desiccation and send for reattachment)
●Suspected dental root or alveolar fracture
●Suspected jaw fracture (posterior tooth fracture , jaw tenderness, and/or malocclusion) to obtain panoramic radiographs
For children younger than 13 years of age, pediatric experience is also preferred.
Dental fractures with injury to the soft tissues, including the lips, frenula, tongue, oral mucosa, and palate may also warrant referral for dental radiography if embedded tooth fragments are suspected [7,34].
When communicating with a dentist, secure transmission of a digital photograph (with parental consent) can provide a clear and rapid means of describing the injury.
PRIMARY TOOTH INJURY — A rapid overview for the management of injuries to the primary teeth is provided (table 3).
The management of these injuries focuses on prevention of damage to the permanent teeth, because the secondary anterior teeth develop in close proximity to the apices of the primary incisors as follows (table 2):
●Avulsion – Avulsed primary teeth should not be replanted because of the potential for injury to the developing tooth bud [20,31]. The tooth should be examined to ensure the entire crown and root are present . In patients for whom the avulsed primary tooth cannot be located, obtaining radiographs of the head, chest, or abdomen may be indicated to determine if the tooth was ingested or aspirated . However, if it is not certain whether the tooth is primary or permanent, the tooth should be gently replanted and the patient emergently evaluated by a dentist. (See 'Replantation and dental treatment' below.)
A fixed or removable prosthesis can be made for the child if concern exists regarding appearance. However, the early loss of primary anterior teeth does not irreversibly affect speech or the position of the permanent teeth [32,37,38].
●Extrusion – Children who have severely displaced or loose extruded anterior primary teeth (>3 mm) should be referred to a dentist for immediate care (picture 5). Injured primary teeth may be removed manually by the primary care provider by grasping the tooth with dry gauze and pulling if a dentist is not available immediately. Removal of the primary tooth is essential when it poses an aspiration risk [39-41]. This situation may be of particular concern for children who are fed by bottle .
If the extrusion is <3 mm, then gentle repositioning may be performed .
●Intrusion – Intruded primary teeth warrant urgent evaluation by a dentist and intraoral radiographs to assess whether the underlying permanent tooth bud is involved.
Less intruded primary teeth will typically re-erupt spontaneously [20,39,41]. Routine dental follow-up and observation of intruded teeth are necessary to assess for potential damage to or interference with eruption of underlying permanent teeth.
●Lateral luxation – Lateral tooth displacement that does not interfere with the bite (ie, permits full closure with normal interdigitation of the molars and the ability to chew food) may be observed . In most instances, spontaneous repositioning will take place.
Lateral luxation that interferes with biting warrants repositioning, extraction, or urgent referral to a dentist [20,39]. Extraction of the primary tooth is appropriate if it is close to shedding.
●Concussion or subluxation – Pain with chewing or percussion is the sole clinical finding of concussion injuries . Subluxation injuries typically present with increased mobility and gingival bleeding at the base of the crown. For both injuries, a soft diet should be provided until the child is able to tolerate his or her normal diet without pain. Routine dental follow-up is necessary to observe for the development of pulpal necrosis .
Tooth discoloration or a localized gum abscess or boil (parulis) suggests pulpal necrosis . Patients with these findings should be referred to a dentist within a few days. (See 'Complications' below.)
Fractures — Proper care of primary tooth fractures requires accurate identification of the injury using clinical examination. Dental consultation or referral for radiography is indicated when root or alveolar fractures are suspected.(See 'Fractures' above.)
●Infraction – Cracks of primary teeth do not require urgent treatment. Dental referral within a few days for application of a dental sealant to prevent staining is appropriate for large obvious cracks. Otherwise, routine dental follow-up is necessary to monitor for pulpal necrosis which may present with gray tooth discoloration or a localized gum abscess or boil (parulis). (See 'Complications' below.)
●Crown fracture – Crown fractures are managed according to type as follows:
•Uncomplicated – Children with crown fractures that only involve the enamel do not require specific treatment unless there is a sharp or rough edge that poses a risk of injury to the oral mucosa or gums. In this instance, referral to a dentist within a few days is appropriate for smoothing of the fracture site.
If the fracture also exposes dentin, then referral to a dentist within a few days for potential restoration is warranted to prevent infection.
Once treated, all uncomplicated crown fractures require routine dental follow-up and monitoring for possible pulpal necrosis.
•Complicated – Complicated fractures (fractures with pulp exposure) require prompt dental referral for pulpotomy or pulpectomy followed by restoration or, if the child cannot tolerate these procedures, extraction. Extraction is also indicated if the crown fracture extends into the root. Restored complicated crown fractures also need routine dental follow-up and monitoring for pulpal necrosis.
●Root fracture – Root fractures of the primary teeth are typically suspected based upon excessive tooth mobility or the presence of a complicated crown fracture. They are rare primary tooth injuries. If there is concern that a portion of the tooth may be extruded and aspirated, then emergent dental consultation or referral is indicated. Otherwise, evaluation within a few days is appropriate.
The approach depends upon the location of the fracture as determined by dental radiography as follows:
•Apical one-third – The tooth can be left in place if the fracture is in the apical one-third (near the dental root) and the crown segment is stable.
•Middle and coronal root fractures – Teeth with roots fractured in the middle or coronal one-third (towards the crown) should be extracted because the crown segment is unstable and the fracture site may be contaminated with bacteria from saliva and become infected. The root portion of the fracture is sometimes left if attempts at extraction will cause damage to the underlying permanent tooth. In these patients, the remaining root portion will typically resorb.
●Alveolar fracture – Alveolar fractures indicated by mobility or dislocation of multiple teeth warrants emergent referral to a dentist or oral surgeon for alignment and stabilization of the segment with a splint.
PERMANENT TOOTH INJURY — A rapid overview for the management of injuries to the permanent teeth is provided (table 3).
Avulsions — Avulsion injuries of permanent teeth are true dental emergencies [30,42]. Management of these injuries focuses on maintaining the vitality of the periodontal ligament, and immediate management is necessary to achieve the best possible outcome.
The prognosis for survival of an avulsed permanent tooth is inversely related to the amount of time spent out of the oral cavity (85 to 97 percent at five minutes and near 0 percent at one hour) [7,43,44]. In one study, a decrease in the number of periodontal ligament progenitor cells was found after an extra-alveolar duration of only 15 minutes . The decreased capacity to reproduce cells may explain in part the impaired survival with delayed replantation .
Replantation and dental treatment — Avulsed permanent teeth should be replanted immediately by the first capable person (eg, the injured child, a parent, teacher, coach, or primary care provider). The tooth should be placed back in the socket as soon as possible, ideally within 15 minutes and up to one hour (or longer if stored in cold milk). Parents/primary caregivers may call the primary care office before bringing the child in for care. Once the clinician has determined that the child does not have any more pressing injuries (eg, head trauma, cervical spine injury), the parent should be instructed to attempt to replant the tooth. The replantation procedure is as follows [30,42]:
●Handle the tooth carefully by the crown to prevent damage to the periodontal ligament (picture 7).
●Remove debris by gentle rinsing with milk, saline or the patient's saliva; do not attempt to sterilize or scrub the tooth.
●Manually replant the tooth in the socket (picture 8). The tooth will usually fit into the socket best in its original orientation. However, if that cannot be determined, it is still beneficial to replant the tooth.
If a large clot is making replanting the tooth difficult, gently remove it by irrigation or gentle wiping.
●Keep the tooth in place by having the child hold it or bite on a gauze pad, clean napkin, or clean towel. If immediate reimplantation is not possible, promptly place the tooth in storage solution that is readily available as follows (descending order of preference):
•Cold milk; place the tooth in a container of milk that is then packed in ice
•Culture medium (Hank's balanced salt solution [HBSS] or Viaspan [often not available])
•Patient's saliva (spit into a container)
Storage solutions are rated based upon their ability to preserve the vitality of the periodontal ligament cells [47,48]. Cold milk is the most recommended storage medium for avulsed permanent teeth [30,49]. Milk's osmolality better maintains the periodontal ligament vitality compared with saline solution or tap water. Because milk is readily available, it minimizes the time that the avulsed tooth remains dry.
HBSS is a cell media culture that may be purchased in an avulsed tooth preservation system called "Save-A-Tooth" (Phoenix-Lazarus, Pottstown, PA). The use of such a system, even for several hours, also increases the likelihood of survival of the periodontal ligament .
If saliva is all that is available, the tooth should be placed into a container of the child's saliva. Holding the tooth in the child's mouth is not advised because it can be further traumatized, swallowed, or aspirated. Other media demonstrating efficacy at preserving the periodontal ligament in small studies include propolis, oral rehydration salt solutions, rice water, and cling film .
Extra-oral storage of avulsed teeth is also improved by using chilled storage solutions [45,51]. The avulsed tooth should be placed in a container with the storage solution (preferably milk) that is packed in ice. This approach maintains the cold temperature without diluting the solution .
Tap water should not be used because its low osmolality will cause the periodontal ligament cells to rupture within minutes [46,51].
●Immediately refer the child to a dentist or other dental professional (eg, oral surgeon or oral maxilla-facial surgeon) with pediatric expertise.
Dental management of replanted permanent teeth usually includes the following :
●Splinting the replanted tooth
●Prophylactic antibiotics (eg, doxycycline, recommendations for the use of doxycycline have been liberalized by the American Academy of Pediatrics; doxycycline can be administered for short durations [ie, 21 days or less] without regard to the patient’s age and with a low risk of dental staining )
●For most patients, root canal 7 to 10 days after replantation [45,46,51]
Other luxation injuries — There are no high quality studies that address the optimal approach to luxation injuries in permanent teeth (table 1) . Dental treatment is based upon consensus and clinical experience as follows (table 2) :
●Concussion – Concussion injuries in the permanent teeth typically warrant elective dental follow-up within a few days for radiographs to document the baseline periapical condition. Subsequently, the clinician and dentist should provide ongoing monitoring for signs of pulpal necrosis as a part of routine care .
●Subluxation – Subluxation injuries must be followed closely, because the prognosis for survival of pulp in mature permanent teeth is significantly worse than in primary teeth. Initial dental care within a few days of injury consists of dental radiographs to assess for root fracture. Radiographic monitoring by a dentist at four weeks is also recommended to rule out pulp necrosis and inflammatory resorption .
●Extrusion, lateral luxation, and intrusion – Luxation injuries in which the teeth are extruded or laterally displaced with malocclusion typically are reduced promptly so that the tooth is returned to its normal position and does not interfere with occlusion [20,31,54]. Reduction may require local anesthesia, splinting, and/or gingival suturing, and children with these injuries should see a dentist urgently as the best outcome occurs if significant luxation is reduced and splinted within two hours . Subsequent root canal treatment may also be necessary depending upon the maturity of the dental root .
Intrusion injuries without malocclusion may require surgical or orthodontic repositioning, depending upon the degree of intrusion and maturity of the root apex [31,54]. Prompt dental evaluation is typically needed for these injuries.
●Infractions – Cracking of permanent teeth may be electively treated with a sealant to prevent staining of the fracture line.
●Crown fractures – Management of crown fractures is determined by the specific injury as follows:
•Uncomplicated – Uncomplicated crown fractures warrant elective referral within a few days for dental radiographs to exclude a root fracture. Smooth, uncomplicated fractures only involving the enamel do not require further treatment. In patients with a rough edge, smoothing by a dentist is indicated to prevent soft tissue injury.
In addition to the management above, crown fractures with dentin exposure can be repaired by bonding the tooth fragment, if available, or by dental restoration. Timing for dental referral depends upon the degree of patient discomfort but should typically occur within a few days.
Although animal studies have shown that crown fragments may be reattached up to 90 days after the injury , guidelines recommend prompt restoration of the lost crown structure or covering the fracture with temporary filling material to improve outcomes. The child should be referred as soon as possible, ideally within seven days, to optimize comfort and functional and cosmetic outcomes . Tooth fragments from crown fractures can be reattached if they are retrieved and kept properly hydrated [57,58]. Special solutions are not necessary because they have no fibroblasts to keep viable. However, the fragment should be kept hydrated in tap water because desiccation occurs which can hinder the bond. The fractured tooth can also be restored with composite resin materials if the fragment is not retrieved [55,59]. Bonded fragments are not as retentive as a composite resin restoration and re-fracture of the tooth is more likely.
Patients with uncomplicated crown fractures require routine dental follow-up and ongoing monitoring of symptoms and signs of pulpal necrosis (spontaneous pain, gray tooth discoloration or a localized gum abscess or boil [parulis]).
•Complicated – Patients with an exposed pulp warrant prompt referral to a dentist for pulp therapy. Teeth with mature roots should subsequently undergo root canal treatment.
Fractures that involve the root (“crown-root fractures” (picture 4)) are managed by removal of the crown fragment followed by restoration of the root or dental prosthesis depending upon the degree of injury to the root.
●Root fractures – Permanent tooth root fractures typically affect permanent incisors and should be suspected when there is tooth mobility after an injury. Prompt referral to a dentist for radiography is indicated. Apical root fractures without increased mobility usually do not require specific treatment (image 1). Fractures closer to the crown of the tooth typically undergo splinting for several weeks or months (image 2). However, if crown mobility remains after splinting, then crown removal followed by root preservation therapy is generally necessary.
●Alveolar fractures – Alveolar fractures indicated by mobility or dislocation of multiple teeth warrants emergent referral to a dentist or oral surgeon for alignment and stabilization of the segment with a splint.
Aftercare — Caregivers of children with tooth injuries should provide a soft diet for up to 10 days and limit sucking (pacifier or digit) as much as possible .
Maintenance of oral hygiene, consisting of thorough brushing with a soft-bristled toothbrush, is essential. Flossing should be avoided until healing has occurred.
Patients with luxation injuries of permanent teeth should also be prescribed 0.12 percent chlorhexidine mouth rinse.
Clinicians should advise caregivers to monitor for signs of pulpal necrosis (tooth discoloration or localized gum abscess or boil [parulis]) following injuries to primary teeth and, as needed, for injuries to permanent teeth. (See 'Other luxation injuries' above and 'Fractures' above.)
Signs of infection (eg, fever, increased pain, or facial swelling) warrants urgent dental follow-up.
Tetanus prophylaxis — Tetanus prophylaxis should be provided, as needed, for dirty wounds and in children who have avulsed teeth, deep lacerations, or marked luxation injuries (table 4) . (See "Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis immunization in children 6 weeks through 6 years of age", section on 'Schedules' and "Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis immunization in children 7 through 18 years of age", section on 'Wound management'.)
Antibiotic therapy — Whether systemic antibiotic therapy affects outcome in childhood dental trauma is not known [7,43]. In animal models, antibiotic therapy has been shown to decrease the extent of root resorption. However, no effect on pulpal necrosis or periodontal ligament has been demonstrated [40,43,44,61,62]. Antibiotic therapy is indicated in the management of secondary infection in adjacent soft tissue and for patients with avulsions of permanent teeth. (See 'Replantation and dental treatment' above.)
In addition, children who are at risk for developing subacute bacterial endocarditis should receive antimicrobial prophylaxis for dental injuries that induce bacteremia (eg, intrusions, extrusions, lateral luxations, and avulsions). (See "Prevention of endocarditis: Antibiotic prophylaxis and other measures".)
Long-term follow-up — Due to potential complications, it is important that traumatized teeth be monitored for healing after injury. Some of the complications such as pulp necrosis or root resorption take place long after the initial injury. Therefore, it is imperative that clinicians educate the caregivers on the importance of adherence to the recommended follow-up regimen as detailed above to optimize the outcomes of treatment. Monitoring traumatized teeth may be required for months to years depending on the type of injury [29,30,54].
COMPLICATIONS — The major complication of injury to the primary teeth is injury to the developing secondary teeth. Intrusion injuries or periapical infection caused by necrotic pulp tissue can irreversibly damage the permanent tooth [18,37,63]. Enamel hypoplasia may occur if the injury occurs between birth and four years of age, the period of calcification of the permanent tooth crown (picture 9). Injury to the primary teeth also can alter the eruption path of the developing tooth [64,65].
The major complication of dental trauma to the permanent dentition is devitalization of the periodontal ligament caused by laceration and/or desiccation that occurs with luxation injuries. The prognosis for survival of the tooth in untreated luxation injuries to the periodontal ligament is poor. Necrotic, infected pulp tissue in the root canal may activate an inflammatory resorptive process that destroys the root in a matter of weeks [43,66].
Another complication of dental trauma to the permanent dentition is devitalization of the dental pulp. Even minor blows may disrupt the thin strand of pulp tissue at the root apex, which is the only neurovascular supply to the permanent teeth. Ischemic necrosis of the pulp, caused by disruption of the neurovascular supply, may be indicated by an abscess in the oral vestibule opposite the tooth root (parulis) and/or by color change in the tooth crown (picture 10). Depending upon the pathologic process, the discoloration can range from pink to yellow to gray or black [67-69]. Discoloration of the teeth should prompt referral to a pediatric dentist for evaluation and treatment, because devitalized teeth may abscess and/or undergo inflammatory resorption of the roots [7,70].
Fractures of the tooth crown may expose the pulp tissue (picture 3) and lead to necrosis of the pulp. Fractures of the enamel and/or dentin can cause inflammation of the pulp if the dentin tubules provide a port for bacteria or thermal or chemical irritants . Uncomplicated fractures also can cause sensitivity to heat and cold, and changes in mastication.
PREVENTION — Prevention of dental injury occurs at several levels (see 'Epidemiology' above and "Pediatric injury prevention: Epidemiology, history, and application", section on 'Principles of injury prevention and control'):
●Primary prevention involves decreasing the incidence of the common mechanisms of injury: falls, child abuse, and physical altercations.
●Secondary prevention involves regular dental care and maintenance, treatment of children with excessive overjet, and the use of mouth protection during recreation and sports activities associated with a high risk of dental trauma.
●Tertiary prevention involves education of parents/primary caregivers, teachers, and coaches regarding the proper management of avulsed permanent teeth .
Mouthguards — The American Dental Association (ADA) and the Academy for Sports Dentistry (ASD) recommend properly fitted mouthguards for a variety of recreational activities and sports that place participants at risk for oral injury . Pediatric care providers, dentists, and coaches should encourage all children who engage in contact sports to wear mouthguards [72,73].
The criteria for a properly fitted mouthguard include :
●Adequate thickness to reduce the force of impact
●Will not be dislodged with impact (ie, retentive)
●Permits speech as necessary to the demands of the athlete
●Constructed from material that meets US Food and Drug Administration approval
●Will last through one season of play
Three types of mouthguards are:
●Stock mouthguards – Stock mouthguards fit loosely over the upper teeth; they are not individually shaped. The use of stock mouthguards may impair breathing and speech because the wearer must keep the teeth in contact to prevent the guard from being displaced .
●Self-adapted mouthguards – Self-adapted mouthguards, also known as "boil and bite" thermoplastic mouthguards, can be individually shaped. The wearer heats the guard in boiling water and bites into the warmed plastic for a customized fit. Self-adapted mouthguards are moderately priced and usually well retained. However, they are subject to bite-through problems and lack structural integrity over time .
●Custom mouthguards – Custom-made mouthguards are made by forming plastic on a stone model of an impression of the athlete's mouth that is taken by a dentist. Custom-made mouthguards provide better protection against projectile impact [76-78], are more comfortable, and are more likely to be retained than are the other models [77,79,80]. However, they may be more expensive than some athletes can afford. Self-adapted mouthguards are a reasonable alternative for these athletes.
Mouthguards should be stored in a plastic protective container. They should be regularly inspected for distortion, bite-through, and tears. They should be rinsed with water before insertion and washed after each use in cold or lukewarm water. They also may be cleaned with denture cleaners or, alternatively, toothpaste and a soft-bristle toothbrush followed by rinsing with a mouthwash. Daily washing minimizes build-up of saliva, bacteria, and debris .
Evidence supports the use of mouthguards to prevent oral injuries in athletes. A pilot study compared the proportion of dental injuries in football players who were required to wear mouthguards and basketball players who were not . Dental injuries accounted for less than 1 percent of the injuries in football players and 34 percent of the injuries in basketball players.
Orofacial trauma and use of mouthguards was assessed in a survey of 1020 male high school basketball players . Orofacial injuries occurred seven times more often among players who did not wear mouth protection. The overall incidence of orofacial injury was 31 percent but decreased to less than 1 percent in players who wore mouthguards. Similar results were reported in a study of female basketball players .
Despite the evidence that supports use of mouthguards for the prevention of orofacial trauma, mouth protection is not mandated universally for child athletes [24,83,84]. Use of mouthguards is mandated only for amateur participants in boxing, football, ice hockey, men's lacrosse, and women's field hockey, as well as for professional boxers .
Education — In addition to recommending that mouth protection be worn during sports play, patients, parents/primary caregivers, teachers, and coaches should be educated regarding the proper management of avulsed secondary teeth. Advance knowledge of and preparation for this type of injury may help to prevent long-term complications from loss of permanent teeth . (See 'Avulsions' above.)
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES — The International Association for Dental Traumatology (IADT) develops and publishes recommended guidelines for treatment of traumatic injuries to the teeth. A detailed guide for the assessment and management of dental trauma is available at dentaltraumaguide.org.
SOCIETY GUIDELINE LINKS — Links to society and government-sponsored guidelines from selected countries and regions around the world are provided separately. (See "Society guideline links: Pediatric trauma".)
INFORMATION FOR PATIENTS — UpToDate offers two types of patient education materials, "The Basics" and "Beyond the Basics." The Basics patient education pieces are written in plain language, at the 5th to 6th grade reading level, and they answer the four or five key questions a patient might have about a given condition. These articles are best for patients who want a general overview and who prefer short, easy-to-read materials. Beyond the Basics patient education pieces are longer, more sophisticated, and more detailed. These articles are written at the 10th to 12th grade reading level and are best for patients who want in-depth information and are comfortable with some medical jargon.
Here are the patient education articles that are relevant to this topic. We encourage you to print or e-mail these topics to your patients. (You can also locate patient education articles on a variety of subjects by searching on "patient info" and the keyword(s) of interest.)
●Basics topic (see "Patient education: Mouth and dental injuries in children (The Basics)")
●Beyond the Basics topic (see "Patient education: Mouth and dental injuries in children (Beyond the Basics)")
SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS
●Epidemiology – Falls are the most frequent cause of dental trauma among preschool and school-age children. Sports-related injuries and altercations are more common in adolescents. Dental trauma may also be an indication of child abuse, especially when associated with abnormal bruising (eg, bruising of the labial sulcus or torn upper labial frenula in nonambulatory children). (See 'Epidemiology' above and 'Examination' above.)
●Evaluation and dental consultation – The evaluation of dental injuries, emergency treatment for tooth avulsions, and indications for urgent dental referral are described above and in the rapid overview (table 3). (See 'Evaluation' above and 'Indications for dental consultation or referral' above and 'Avulsions' above.)
●Injury classification and diagnosis – Trauma to the teeth may cause fractures of the teeth (figure 2 and picture 2 and picture 3) or damage to the supporting structures (ie, the periodontal ligament and alveolar bone). Injuries to the supporting structures are known as luxation injuries (table 1). Because treatment and need for dental consultation varies, it is essential to distinguish between injuries to primary and permanent teeth (figure 3 and figure 4) based upon appearance of the dentition and the child’s age (figure 1). In children with dental pain, fracture, luxation, or discoloration after an injury, dental radiographs confirm the diagnosis and assess the severity of injury of bony or root fractures or permanent tooth bud displacement. (See 'Dentoalveolar injury classification' above and 'Primary versus permanent tooth' above and 'Diagnosis' above.)
●Management – Typical dental management by type of dental injury for primary and permanent teeth is shown in the table (table 2). (See 'Primary tooth injury' above and 'Permanent tooth injury' above.)
-Permanent teeth – Avulsed permanent teeth should be replanted immediately by the first capable person (eg, the injured child, a parent, teacher, coach, or primary care provider) and the patient taken immediately for emergency dental care (picture 8). (See 'Replantation and dental treatment' above.)
If immediate replantation is not possible, the tooth should be stored in tooth culture media (eg, cold milk [preferred], Hank's balanced salt solution, or the child's saliva). The avulsed tooth should be placed in a container with the storage solution that is packed in ice. Do not store the tooth in the child's mouth or tap water. (See 'Replantation and dental treatment' above.)
-Primary teeth – Avulsed primary teeth should not be replanted. However, if uncertain certain whether the tooth is primary or permanent, gently replant it and arrange for emergency evaluation by a dentist. In patients for whom the avulsed primary tooth cannot be located, radiographs of the head, chest, and abdomen may be needed to identify ingestion or aspiration. (See 'Luxation injuries' above.)
•Loose primary teeth – Children who have severely displaced or loose anterior primary teeth that pose a risk of aspiration require manual removal by grasping the tooth with dry gauze and pulling. (See 'Luxation injuries' above.)
•Fractured permanent teeth – Children with fractures of the permanent teeth should be referred as soon as possible, ideally within a few days, to optimize comfort and outcome. Tooth fragments from crown fractures can be reattached if they are retrieved and kept properly hydrated; special solutions are not necessary, but the fragment should be kept hydrated in tap water to avoid discoloration. (See 'Fractures' above.)
●Prevention – Dental injuries can be prevented by mouth protection during recreation and sports activities that are associated with a high risk of dental trauma. Salvage of avulsed permanent teeth is increased by education of parents/primary caregivers, teachers, and coaches regarding the need for prompt replantation. (See 'Prevention' above.)
آیا می خواهید مدیلیب را به صفحه اصلی خود اضافه کنید؟