Dental injuries among children and adolescents aged 1–15 years attending to public hospital in Temuco, Chile


Jaime A. Díaz, Departamento Odontología Integral, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de La Frontera, Manuel Montt 112, 4º piso, casilla 54-D Temuco, Chile
Tel.: 56-45-325775
Fax: 56-45-325777


Abstract –  A cross-sectional study was carried out in children and adolescents of both sexes, aged 1–15 years that sought dental emergency attention to the Regional Hospital between 2004 and 2007 in Temuco, Chile. The purpose of this study was to identify the aetiology, types of traumatic dental injuries in primary and permanent dentitions, sex and age distributions, accident location; and time elapsed before emergency treatment in children and adolescents. The sample consisted of 359 patients with 145 primary teeth and 525 permanent teeth affected by dental trauma. The results showed a 2:1 male:female ratio distribution (242/117) with a mean age of 8.4 years. The 7- to 12-year-old group had the highest frequency of dental injuries (66.6%). Unspecific accidental falls were the main cause of injury to primary and permanent dentition (51.8%), followed by striking teeth against objects (15.6%) and bike accidents (13.9%). In primary dentition the most common diagnosis were subluxation (38.6%) and avulsion (16.6%), whereas in permanent dentition was uncomplicated crown fracture (32.9%). A high proportion of the patients received their first emergency attention 24 h after the accident (32.6%). This study revealed a high frequency (37.9%) in 1–15 aged population that sought emergency attention by dental trauma in the period of time study. A large proportion of children with dental trauma received delayed first emergency care, even 24 h after the accident. Considering the high frequency of traumatic dental injuries in 1–15 aged population and the high percentage of delayed emergency attention is necessary to develop effective educational campaigns in regard to causes, prevention and emergency management of traumatic dental injuries, especially in deprived areas. In conclusion, traumatic dental injury may be considered as a serious dental public health problem especially in children of deprived areas.