For the dental professional to be able to identify the signs of maltreatment that a child may present with, he or she must be knowledgeable of not only the types of abuse or neglect, mentioned previously, but the various physical and behavioral manifestations that may be exhibited. The ability to properly identify suspicious injuries to the head, face, mouth, and neck of a child is imperative for dentists. The following information outlines the signs and symptoms or the four types of child maltreatment with emphasis placed on the locations on the child where they may occur.
Physical Abuse may result in numerous types of injuries including contusions, ecchymosis, abrasions, lacerations, fractures, burns, bites, hematomas, retinal hemorrhaging, traumatic, and dental trauma. A list of head and orofacial injuries that dentists should be alert for include:
This type of injury is usually associated with physical or sexual abuse. In such suspected cases, a forensic pathologist or odontologist should be contacted.22,23
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