Trauma — Primary Teeth
In infants and young children, the teeth
most often affected by oral injury are the upper front
primary teeth (Figure 1). The most common type of
injury is a displacement injury with gingival bleeding.
Intrusion injuries, in which a primary tooth is driven
into the alveolar bone, are also common. Avulsion
of the tooth can also occur.
Oral soft tissues — including
the lips, tongue, palate, frena, and gingiva —
can also be injured. Impalement injuries can occur
when an infant or young child falls with an object
in the mouth and the object penetrates the oral soft
Jaw fractures, while uncommon among
infants and young children, can occur, especially
with a significant blow to the face or the chin. Jaw
fractures result in difficulty opening and closing
the mouth, facial asymmetry, and/or paresthesia
(a sensation of pricking, tingling, or creeping).
Infants and children who experience
an oral burn as a result of chewing on electrical
cords should be referred to a burn specialist for
assessment and possible intervention. Early referral
is crucial to reduce the risk of scarring and fusion
of the oral commisures
(sites of union of corresponding parts), as the risk
increases with delayed care.