Traumatic dental injuries: an assessment of knowledge of emergency care among a group of school teachers in Port Harcourt, Nigeria
Aim: To assess the knowledge of school teachers on prevention of traumatic dental injuries (TDIs) and care of tooth avulsions in school children.
Materials and methods: A cross sectional study was carried out among school teachers in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. A 22-item self-administered, semi-structured questionnaire was given to the teachers to assess their knowledge on the causes, prevention and management of TDIs that occurs within the school premises. The information obtained was processed and analyzed using the SPSS Version 20.0 software on a window–based computer.
Results: One hundred and thirty three teachers consisting of 46 males (34.6%) and 87 (65.4%) females [Mean age: 35.5 (±SD 9.4) years] participated in the study. Almost all the participants, 130 (97.7%) had playgrounds in their schools and most, 113 (85%) of the school playgrounds were made of natural grass. Less than half of participating teachers' had the appropriate knowledge about the causes and management of TDIs even as most of the participants had a mean percentage knowledge score of less than 50%. There was no relationship between level of knowledge and age, sex, or educational qualification. From the experience of participants, gum bleeding was the most frequent sign of oral injury (41.4%) occurring in their schools. Sixty four participants (48%) had personally witnessed tooth avulsion while 51 (40.8%) had witnessed the replantation of an avulsed tooth.
Conclusion: This study suggests that an average primary/secondary school teacher has inadequate knowledge regarding the care of an avulsed tooth and TDIs in general, hence, they are ill-prepared to handle traumatic dental emergencies. Based on this observation, exposure of school teachers to formal training and education on First Aid / emergency care for traumatic dental injuries is imperative.
Keywords: Tooth avulsion, Storage media, Replantation, Port Harcourt, School teacher