Are primary care physicians equipped enough to act as first responders for tooth avulsion injuries?
AbstractBackground: Prompt and appropriate management of dental trauma has been shown to significantly improve the prognosis of the resulting injuries in numerous cases. Frequently it is other health professionals that provide emergency care following traumatic dental injuries including tooth avulsion. The objective of this study was to assess the knowledge of primary care physicians about emergency management of traumatic tooth avulsion (TTA) and their willingness to get training with regards to TTA.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional study of family physicians/primary care physicians. The data collection instrument was a selfadministered questionnaire which was distributed to consenting family physicians. The questionnaire elicited information on demographics, knowledge, practice and experience regarding emergency management of an avulsed tooth as well as self-assessment and need for training with regards to an avulsed tooth by the participants.
Results: A total of 62 family physicians/primary care physicians participated in the study. Majority (96.8%) of the respondents knew an avulsed tooth to be a tooth that has been completely dislodged from its socket in the alveolar bone. The best emergency treatment for an avulsed tooth reported by majority (77.4%) of the respondents was “refer patient with avulsed tooth to the dentist”. Only 14.5% of the respondents knew that the best emergency treatment for an avulsed tooth was “replant the tooth in its socket”. A vast majority (96.8%) of the respondents was not aware of any protocol for management of an avulsed tooth and 80.6% of the respondents had no prior training/knowledge on management of an avulsed tooth. Likewise, 91.9% of the respondents thought they were not well informed about emergency management of avulsed teeth with 85.5% of them willing to receive education on management of traumatic dental injuries.
Conclusion: Primary care physicians are not equipped enough to act as first responders for tooth avulsion injuries. There is need for inclusion of management of dental trauma in both undergraduate and postgraduate medical curricular