Interdisciplinary management of orofacial lesions in early childhood: paediatric alert system at University of Verona



Zerman N, Zangani A, Maffeis C, Pietrobelli A, Piacentini G, Zotti F, De Manzoni R, Silva R, Cordiano A, Spinas E, Nocini PF. Eur. J. Paediatr. Dent. 2024; 25: e1.


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Orofacial trauma (OFT) occurs frequently in children and requires thorough evaluation not only by paediatric dentists but also by all specialists involved in emergency services, particularly in cases involving children under 3 years of age, given their inability to directly participate in clinical-anamnestic evaluations. Addressing early childhood orofacial trauma resulting from maltreatment, this study explores the key role played by various healthcare professionals, including paediatric dentists, general dentists, maxillofacial surgeons, dental hygienists, and paediatricians, in the optimal management of these cases. In the event of trauma due to suspected or confirmed mistreatment, it is essential that all healthcare workers involved have precise knowledge of the appropriate course of action from both a clinical and legal point of view, guaranteeing maximum protection for the young patient. This is particularly significant as cases of mistreatment with apparently minor consequences can degenerate into situations of irreparable severity. The latest guidelines from the International Association of Dental Traumatology (IADT) in 2020 continue to emphasise the potential correlation between OFT and cases of abuse or violence. Recent recommendations in the literature highlight the importance of facilitating mandatory reporting of incidents to relevant authorities and improving information sharing between dental healthcare professionals and child welfare services. A new flow diagram, called Paediatric Orofacial Trauma Alert (P.O.T.A.), has been proposed at the University of Verona. This tool is specifically designed to assist specialists dealing with early childhood orofacial trauma cases by assisting them in identifying potential cases of maltreatment. In this innovative approach, the collaborative efforts of general dentists, paediatric dentists, maxillofacial surgeons, dental hygienists and paediatricians play a vital role in cases of abuse. In addition to restoring the oral health of young patients, these professionals can activate a vast network of contacts, ensuring not only optimal oral health care but also providing comprehensive support to victims. The objective is to safeguard not only the physical but also the psychological well-being of these vulnerable subjects.