On Dental Trauma in Children and Adolescents : Incidence, Risk, Treatment, Time and Costs

Abstract: Background: Dental trauma occur in childhood and adolescence with consequences in time and costs for both patient and family. The scientific knowledge of these matters is scarce. For some individuals, dental trauma will result in long, time-consuming and costly treatments in childhood which will continue into adulthood.Aim: The thesis aimed to increase the knowledge of incidence, risk, treatment, time and costs spent on dental traumas to primary and permanent teeth in children and adolescents.Material and method: The material for the studies emanated from the county of Västmanland, Sweden, and the municipality of Copenhagen, Denmark, and from a Swedish nation-wide material (Folksam). The material was collected from accident reports, dental files, dental trauma forms, questionnaires and telephone interviews. Descriptive, prospective and analytical methods were used. A classification of uncomplicated and complicated dental traumas was presented.Results: The incidence of dental trauma to boys was higher, compared to girls, in the county of Västmanland in almost all age groups. For both sexes, the first years in life and the first years in school were the most accident prone periods with incidence twice as high as the average incidence for all children and adolescents in the county. Every third trauma was complicated with injuries to the pulp or periodontal ligaments. Every second patient with a dental trauma to permanent teeth suffered from multiple dental trauma episodes (MDTE) during a period of 12 years. In almost every second patient with MDTE, at least one of the affected teeth had sustained repeated trauma episodes. The risk of sustaining MDTE increased when the first trauma episode occurred in the age interval of 6-10, compared to 11-18 year olds. During a 12-year period, treatment times for complicated traumas were 2.0 and 2.7 times higher for primary and permanent teeth, respectively, compared to corresponding values for uncomplicated traumas. On average, direct time (treatment time) represented 11% and 16% of the total time, while the direct costs (health are service, transport, loss of personal property and medicine) represented 60% and 72% of the total costs of traumas to primary and permanent teeth, respectively, during a 2-year period for cases of a nation-wide material.Conclusion: Dental traumas are frequent and some individuals are injured several times. Besides treatment time, efforts from the family are substantial in time and costs. Parameters such as degree of severity, access to treatment and place of injury are of major importance to both patient and family and should be considered when calculating time and costs of dental trauma in children and adolescents.