Has the education of professional caregivers and lay people in dental trauma care failed?


Ulf Glendor DDS, PhD. Med Dr (Linköping University), Skogsgatan 42, SE-587 83 Linköping, Sweden
Tel.: +46 13 14 05 08
e-mail: ulf.glendor@telia.com


Abstract –  Background/Aim:  Several reports have been published during the past decades showing a lack of care of traumatic dental injuries (TDIs) as well as dentists and lay people having insufficient knowledge on how to manage TDIs. This situation could seriously affect the outcome of TDIs, especially a complicated TDI. The overall aim of this study was to present a review of dental trauma care with focus on treatment and dentists and lay persons’ lack of knowledge on how to manage a TDI. A further aim is to introduce the actors involved and the outcome of their education.

Material and method:  The databases Medline, Cochrane, SSCI, SCI and CINAHL from the year 1995 to the present were used. Focus was on treatment need, inadequate care, lack of knowledge and poor organization of emergency care.

Result:  Studies from different countries demonstrated that treatment needs were not properly met despite the fact that not all untreated teeth needed treatment. Treatment in emergency dental care was often inadequate or inappropriate. With the exception of lay people, teachers, medical personnel and even dentists performed inadequate care. Furthermore, information to the public was insufficient. Despite a low level of knowledge, lay people expressed a strong interest in helping someone with a TDI.

Conclusion:  The conclusion from this review is that consideration must be given the problematic results from different studies on education or information about dental trauma care. Despite that the studies reviewed were from different countries and groups of people, the results seem to be consistent, i.e. that a large part of the educational process of professional caregivers and lay people has failed. Too much hope seems to be put on lay people to handle difficult cases such as tooth avulsion. Education of caregivers and lay people is a field where much remains to be explored.