Traumatic orodental injuries and the development of an orodental injury surveillance system: a pilot study in Victoria, Australia Academic Article uri icon


  • Traumatic orodental injuries are common dental public health problems that have complex aetiology and significant impact on those affected. It is important to understand the frequency, pattern and causes of traumatic orodental injuries so that appropriate and effective treatment services are made available and injury prevention interventions are designed and implemented. The aims of this study were to measure the frequency, causes and patterns of traumatic orodental injuries in patients of all ages treated at the Royal Dental Hospital of Melbourne in Victoria, Australia, over a 12-month period and to investigate the feasibility of establishing an orodental injury surveillance system. For which, a retrospective audit of 304 patient records was undertaken and injury surveillance data were extracted and analysed. Males represented 67% of cases. Three-quarters of all cases were aged less than 24 years. The most frequent cause of orodental injury was falls from less than 1 m or being struck by or colliding with a person or object. Injuries occurred most commonly around the home, on the road, street or footpath, the sports ground and places for recreation and were most often associated with leisure and sports activities. Orodental injuries sustained in one traumatic incident were often multiple and serious. Many severe orodental trauma injury cases present at this public dental hospital are expensive to treat, require long-term management and may be preventable. The findings from this study have led to the development and planned implementation of an enhanced electronic orodental injury structured history form that incorporates the collection of key injury surveillance data. These prospective data are to be combined with injury surveillance data that are routinely collected by all Victorian public hospital emergency departments in order to improve understanding of the nature of orodental injuries impacting Victorian communities and assist with appropriate service planning and the design of orodental injury prevention interventions.

publication date

  • February 2009

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