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J Am Dent Assoc. 1978 Jul;97(1):24-8.

Child abuse and dentistry: orofacial trauma and its recognition by dentists.


Orofacial trauma was found in 49% of 260 documented cases of child abuse seen during of five-year period at the Children's Hospital Medical Center, Boston. An additional 16% of the cases involved head trauma; the total percentage of head and facial trauma was 65%. Head or facial trauma was the principal reason for admission to the hospital in 45% of the cases. A survey of 537 dentists in Massachusetts showed that the majority were unaware of their legal and social responsibilities to report suspected cases of child abuse. Eleven percent of all dentists surveyed saw orofacial trauma cases that were of a suspicious nature, by only 22 confirmed cases of child abuse were noted by the dentists. Of these, only four were reported to social agencies. In general, oral surgeons and pedodontists saw a higher percentage of these cases and were more aware of their responsibilities than were general practitioners.

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