Referral practice of military corpsmen regarding dento-alveolar trauma

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Abstract

The aim of this study was to evaluate the Israeli military corpsmens' practice of referral to professional treatment regarding traumatic dental injuries. The study consisted of 250 corpsmen during their military service. Questionnaire and slide show were used to present clinical photos with short history descriptions of dento-alveolar traumatic injuries. Participants were asked to indicate the preferred referral destination for each case to state the urgency of referral to the destination and to note their regional emergency department with an oral and maxillofacial surgery consultant and the nearest 24-h emergency dental clinic. Corpsmen immediately evacuated the wounded with full-thickness lip laceration (59%), tooth avulsion (79%), alveolar fracture (88%) and mandibular fracture (100%). Most corpsmen referred crown fracture to a dental clinic and alveolar- or mandibular-bone fracture to the emergency department. Tooth avulsion cases were equally distributed between the emergency department and dental clinic and full-thickness lip laceration between the emergency department and general medical office. Familiarity with the nearest 24-h emergency dental clinic was found in 38% and with the regional emergency department with an oral and maxillofacial surgery consultant in 57%. The knowledge of this group of military corpsmen regarding referral practices was encouraging. However, further continuing education with regards to the regionally available emergency services is needed. Special emphasis should be given to provide primary caregivers with the relevant education to improve their knowledge and ability of dealing dental trauma.

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