Dr Swati Karkare (MDS, Nashik, India) is Pediatric Dentist, and Former Head, Dept of Pediatric Dentistry, MGV’s KBH Dental College and Hospital, Nashik. Dr Karkare is a Keynote Speaker at the DentalReach Conference & Awards (DRDCA) 22: Sports Dentistry Edition. For brochure & registration click here.
Dental and orofacial trauma is an event in a child’s life that can occur right from the time the child starts to crawl, learns to walk and/or climbing stairs.
The chances increase further as the child grows older, starts attending school and gets involved in various sporting activities that may be indoor or outdoors.
There are multiple predisposing factors such as
- proclined anterior teeth
- increased overjet
- incompetent lips
- enamel defects and
- other developmental problems.
There are chances of road accidents and domestic abuse occurring too.
The magnitude of the traumatic forces determines the amount of damage that can occur to soft and /or hard tissues or even the facial structures and bones.
Traumatic injuries are not just physical injuries. The child undergoes tremendous psychological and emotional trauma too as he/she has to undergo that painful situation, changed appearance due to broken and/avulsed tooth and bruises, and possible bullying by other children due to it.
As a Pediatric Dentist, the major concern is to not only manage the traumatic teeth, but also the fearful and shocked child – along with the anxious parents!
The actual management has its own protocol to be followed as per the type of the injury and damage caused. But the psychological management of the child and parents is the most challenging part. Further the parents need to be made aware and educated about how further trauma can be prevented- especially in case of toddlers.
For young athletes with either mixed dentition or young permanent dentition, specific protective gear can help prevent traumatic injuries to a large extent. Although it may not completely protect the oro-facial structures always, atleast the magnitude of damage can be reduced. Major traumatic injuries can occur between age 7 to 10 yrs usually at school. Hence, apart from the parents of the young athletes, schools and school teachers also need to be made aware of and educated about prevention of trauma at school during sports, along with various first aid methods specifically focused at oro-facial injuries.
Further exceptional care needs to be taken for the specially abled children who are more prone to falls and injure themselves. In such situations the caretakers/ parents of the children already have their hands full multiple challenges while raising a special child. Hence, simple, practical and affordable solutions to prevent traumatic injuries at home should be suggested.
As it goes with everything- “Prevention is better than Cure!” The traumatized anterior teeth of a child if managed well, restores a healthy precious smile! Preventive strategies and awareness may simply avoid the situation to occur in the first place!