Teeth Located in the Line of Mandibular Fracture

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During the last decade, rigid internal fixation with mini plates and screws has attained widespread use for stabilization of facial bone fractures. This technique permits precise, three-dimensional stabilization of bony segments, decreases the time required for immobilization of the maxillomasticatory apparatus, and allows patients to return to their preinjury state earlier. However, there is still controversy on the appropriate management of teeth located within the line of mandibular fractures. We review the outcome of teeth retained within the fracture. We performed a retrospective chart review of all patients admitted to the University of California, Davis, Medical Center with mandibular fractures from July 1, 1986, to June 30, 1991, who had retained at least 1 tooth and had had a 3-month follow-up. We were able to include a total of 254 patients who met these criteria. These patients were then divided into groups according to location of the fracture, method of stabilization, and management of dentition within the line of fracture. Data were then analyzed using a linear model to predict the percentages of success for each method of fixation. In conclusion, we found little difference in the outcome of fracture management whether the teeth were routinely extracted or retained as long as rigid fixation was employed for stabilization of the fracture segments.

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