Dental trauma refers to trauma (injury) to the teeth and/or periodontium (gums, periodontal ligament, alveolar bone), and nearby soft tissues such as the lips, tongue, etc. The study of dental trauma is called dental traumatology.
Dental trauma is most common in younger people, accounting for 17% of injuries to the body in those aged 0–6 years compared to an average of 5% across all ages. It is more frequently observed in males compared to females. Traumatic dental injuries are more common in permanent teeth compared to deciduous teeth and usually involve the front teeth of the upper jaw.
- Tooth fractures
- Injuries of the periodontal apparatus
- Young children
- Sports, especially contact sports
- Piercing in tongue and lips
- Military training
- Acute changes in the barometric pressure, i.e. dental barotrauma, which can affect scuba divers and aviators
- Class II malocclusion with increased overjet and Class II Skeletal relationship 
A regular use in mouthguard during sports and other high-risk activities (such as military trainings) are the most effective prevention for dental trauma. However, studies in various high risk populations for dental injuries are repeatedly reporting of a low compliance of individuals for the regular using of mouthguard during activities. Moreover, even with regular use, effectiveness in prevention on dental injuries is not complete, and injuries can still occur even when mouthguards are used as users are not always aware of the best makes or size, which inevitably result in a poor ﬁt.
Management and Future treatment options
The management depends on the type of injury involved and whether it is a baby or an adult tooth. It is important after a dental injury, to keep the area clean - by using a soft toothbrush and antiseptic mouthwash such as Chlorhexidine Gluconate. Soft foods and avoidance of contact sports it also recommended in the short term.
Potential sequelae can involve pulpal necrosis, pulp obliteration and root resorption. Necrosis is the most common complication and an assessment is generally made based on colour supplemented with radiograph monitoring. A change in colour may mean the tooth is still vital but if persists likely to be non-vital.
When the injured teeth are painful with function due to damage to the periodontal ligaments (e.g., dental subluxation), a temporary splinting of the injured teeth may relieve the pain and enhance eating ability. An avulsed permanent tooth should be gently rinsed under tap water and immediately re-planted in its original socket within the alveolar bone and later temporarily splinted by a dentist. Failure to re-plant the avulsed tooth within the first 40 minutes after the injury may result in very poor prognosis for the tooth. Management of injured primary teeth differs from management of permanent teeth; an avulsed primary tooth should not be re-planted (to avoid damage to the permanent dental crypt).
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- Dental Trauma Guide, an interactive tool for evidence based dental trauma treatment
- International Association Of Dental Traumatology
- US Association Of Emergency Dentists