EPIDEMIOLOGICAL STUDY ON TRAUMATIC ORAL AND MAXILLOFACIAL INJURIES IN VICTIMS OF CHILD PHYSICAL ABUSE

Anamaria-Violeta Țuțuianu, Simona Cheregi, Ligia Luminita Vaida, Abel-Emanuel Moca, Bianca Maria Negrutiu, Bianca Hanganu, Andreea Alexandra Hleșcu, Fotios Chatzinikoalou, Antonia Sioga

Abstract

Introduction: Physical abuse against children must be reported to the General Directorate for Social Assistance and Child Protection or to the District Police Departments by all specialists in the medical field, including dentists. The aim of this study was to analyze the traumatic injuries of the oral cavity as well as the injuries located on other parts of the body, resulting from the physical abuse inflicted by various means in children. Material and methods: We performed a retrospective cohort study on a group with 67 patients aged between 3 months and 18 years, namely 49 boys and 18 girls, residing in Bihor County, in rural and urban areas, victims of physical violence, between 2014-2018. The data were retrieved from the archives of the Bihor County Forensic Medicine Service, the Municipal Clinical Hospital “Dr. Gavril Curteanu” Oradea, Pediatrics Department, as well as a private dental practice in Oradea. We have analyzed the parameters related both to the victim and the aggressor. The data collected were statistically analyzed and processed and the results were rendered with the help of descriptive and correlational studies. Results: Following the child physical abuse, during the analyzed period, the most affected soft tissues in the oral and dental field were the lips (71.6%) and the cheeks (71.6%), whereas teeth (29.9%) and jaw bones (7.5%) were the most affected hard tissues. The most common associated injuries were located in the cephalic extremity (26.9%) and limbs (10.4%), and the average number of detected lesions was 2.31 ± 1.427, ranging between 1 and 7. The average age was 6.63± 3.7409 years, most of the victims being boys (73.1%) living in rural areas (64.2%). Conclusion: Physical abuse in children is a sensitive topic that must be properly addressed, given its long term consequences. The results of our study are in accordance with the majority of published data in terms on the most vulnerable categories of children and the most often encountered injuries. Given that cases of physical abuse are underreported by dentists, most often because they do not know how to proceed, it is required that all dentists be trained in diagnosing the most accurate forms of physical abuse and be notified of the ethical obligation to report any suspicion of physical abuse.

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