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A retrospective study of treatment provided in the primary and secondary care services for children attending a dental hospital following complicated crown fracture in the permanent dentition


Dr. Anne Maguire Department of Child Dental Health, School of Dentistry, Framlington Place, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 4BW, UK. E-mail:


Objectives. To investigate treatment provision in primary and secondary dental care following complicated crown fracture of permanent teeth.

Design and methods. Retrospective observational survey of dental records of all patients attending a dental hospital trauma clinic during a 2-year period with complicated crown fracture.

Results. Eighty children (70% male) aged 6–16 years (mean age 10·3 years) with 98 complicated crown fractures were identified. Of these children, 54% were seen for emergency treatment on the day of their injury, 75% within 48 h. Of the 98 injured teeth, 60% were seen initially in general dental practice but only 56% of these 59 cases were provided with emergency treatment in practice, the others being referred immediately to the trauma clinic for treatment. The main cause of fractures was transport, in particular, bicycles. Radiographs were available for 96 teeth; for the 43 open apex teeth, the definitive treatment was pulp capping (44% of cases) and pulpotomy (30%), with vitality maintained in five cases up to 4·8 years after trauma. The 53 closed apex cases were treated definitively with pulp capping (38%) and pulpectomy (36%) and six teeth had maintained their vitality up to 4·3 years after trauma. Sixty-seven per cent of the pulp caps and 47% of the 19 pulpotomies provided relied on a doubtful coronal seal. This was primarily due to the extensive use of a conventional glass ionomer cement as an emergency bandage. The use of an etched or bonded material at initial presentation extended the Median Survival Time for vitality in open apex teeth from 188 to 377 days and in closed apex teeth from 15 to 64 days.

Conclusions. Emergency treatment of complicated crown fractures, particularly in primary care services is often inappropriate or inadequate with regard to emergency management of the exposed pulp and provision of a hermetic coronal seal.