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Maternal and Child Health Bureau logoA Health Professionals Guide to Pediatric Oral Health Management
HomeModuleModule 1: An Introduction to Infants' and Young Children's Oral HealthModule 2: Managing Infants' and Young Children's Oral HealthModule 3: Oral Conditions and AbnormalitiesModule 4: Prevention of Oral DiseaseModule 5: Non-Nutritive Sucking HabitsModule 6: Oral InjuryModule 7: Infants and Young Children with Special Health Care NeedsContentsGlossaryEvaluationHelp
Module 6: Oral Injury
Module Contents
Overview
6.1 Injury Prevention
Anticipatory Guidance
6.2 Child Abuse and Neglect
6.3 Injury Types and Consequences
Injury Types
Injury Consequences
6.4 Managing Oral Injuries
(current page)
Avulsed Teeth
Key Points
Post-Test
References
Additional Resources



6.4 Managing Oral Injuries

Note
notepad graphicAll oral injuries should be assessed as soon as possible after they occur to document initial findings; arrange for emergency treatment, if needed; and schedule follow-up with a dentist.

 

The roots of the primary teeth are close to the developing permanent teeth; therefore the force of the impact to a primary tooth can be easily transmitted to the underlying developing tooth. Infection caused by primary tooth damage may harm the permanent teeth as well. The intervention strategy for injured primary teeth is dictated by a concern for the permanent teeth.[1]

Health professionals are likely to encounter infants and young children with oral injuries. Therefore, especially for infants and young children who do not have a dental home, (see Module 2, section 2.7) it is important for health professionals to feel confident about managing oral injury.

Although health professionals’ ability to treat oral injuries is limited, the information presented in this section will help them determine how to provide some level of care.

All oral injuries should be assessed as soon as possible after they occur to document initial findings; arrange for emergency treatment, if needed; and schedule follow-up with a dentist.

Once the health professional has determined that no medical emergency exists, the health professional should examine the infant’s or child’s teeth and mouth). (See Module 2, section 2.4.)

  • Feel the facial bones and note any swelling, bruises, or lacerations.

  • Determine whether the infant or child can open and close her mouth.

  • Determine whether the infant or child can move his jaw from right to left (lateral excursions of the jaw).

  • Look for missing teeth; fractured crowns; and mobile, intruded, or extruded teeth.

  • Check soft tissues for bruising and lacerations.

  • Take extraoral and intraoral photographs of the infant’s or child’s mouth and face (these may be needed in cases of suspected child abuse).

  • Refer the infant or child to a dentist for assessment and possible intervention.
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