Factors affecting treatment outcomes following complicated crown fractures managed in primary and secondary care

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The aims of this retrospective observational study were to determine the factors which affect treatment provision and the Median Survival Time (MST) for maintenance of tooth vitality following complicated crown fracture. The survey was carried out for patients treated at Newcastle Dental Hospital (NDH) according to departmental guidelines over a 2-year period following the introduction of a new protocol for management of these types of injuries. Seventy-three cases of complicated crown fracture were identified in 69 children with a mean age of 10.3 years (SD = 2.5 years). Seventy-one percent of the fractures occurred in males (M:F ratio was 2.5:1). Fifty-one percent of the complicated crown fractures were in immature teeth. Of the 73 traumatised teeth, 45% presented initially in general dental practice (GDP), 37% at the dental hospital and 8% at local accident and emergency departments with the remaining 10% seen at other or unrecorded locations. Of the 41 fractures, which presented initially at a location other than the dental hospital, 38% were referred to the dental hospital without the provision of an emergency pulp bandage. The overall definitive treatments provided for the 37 open apex teeth included pulp cap (19%), partial pulpotomy (32%), cervical pulpotomy (8%) and pulpectomy (35%), while for the 36 closed apex teeth it was pulp cap (28%), pulpotomy (11%), and pulpectomy (61%). Of the 30 teeth, which underwent vital pulp therapy (18 open and 12 closed apex), the MST for the 15 teeth treated with pulp caps was 1460 days (95% CI: 1067, 1853) while for the 15 teeth treated with pulpotomies it was 1375 days (95% CI: 964, 1786). There was no statistically significant difference in the MST between teeth treated with pulp caps and pulpotomies. In conclusion, the proportion of patients referred to secondary care with complicated crown fractures without provision of a pulp bandage is of some concern. More conservative treatment of closed apex teeth sustaining complicated crown fractures, utilizing vital pulp therapy techniques would appear to be appropriate.

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