Traumatic dental injuries are now the 5th most prevalent disease/injury in the world-But they are being neglected!!

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A recent publication in The Lancet Global Health1 has highlighted that traumatic dental injuries are now the fifth most prevalent disease or injury after caries, tension‐type headache, iron‐deficiency anaemia, and age‐related and other hearing loss. Traumatic dental injuries are more prevalent than migraine and genital herpes. This finding was recently reported in an article published in Dental Traumatology2 which estimated that 900 000‐1250 000 000 living people have had a dental traumatic injury—that is, approximately one billion people in the world today.
As outlined in this article, although traumatic dental injuries are not lethal, they do have a very high cost burden—estimated to be between $US 2 000 000 and 5 000 000 per one million inhabitants—plus their management is more time‐consuming than that of all other bodily injuries. Hence, adequate dental rehabilitation for disadvantaged people becomes less likely to occur. This in turn can lead to negative social, functional and emotional effects, especially in children and adolescents.
The authors highlight that some dental traumatic injuries cannot even be classified according to the newly released World Health Organisation (WHO) International Classification of Diseases (ICD‐11) or with the ICD application that dates back to 1995. Traumatic dental injuries are not considered by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or by WHO. In response, the authors have proposed alternative codes for traumatic dental injuries, based on the Andreasen classification that dentists commonly use.
The lack of recognition of traumatic dental injuries means that inadequate information is reported regarding these injuries which in turn leads to a lack of their awareness by international public health authorities. This further leads to disparities in oral health status between privileged and underprivileged children and adolescents. Apart from the social, emotional and psychological issues, the lack of awareness also leads to diagnostic confusion, misclassification or non‐classification with subsequent inadequate management and policies.
The authors urge international public health organisations to recognise traumatic dental injuries and that they be included in the Global Burden of Disease Study. They also urge the use of the Andreasen classification in the WHO ICD‐11 classification.
All dental practitioners are urged to read this most significant article in The Lancet Global Health and to take action with your local public health authorities to improve the recognition of traumatic dental injuries. Recognition of the extent of the problem is the first step towards improving the collection of data and towards improving access to care for all injured people.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383
Number of pages1
JournalDental Traumalogy
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018


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