In child abuse and neglect cases where the injury or problem is restricted to the mouth, if the dentist feels competent to treat the case, treatment should be initiated. More extensive trauma such as fractures, lacerations, or serious injuries to the head, body, or extremities should be referred to the appropriate medical/dental specialists. If the dentist is convinced the child’s life is in danger due to either the injuries sustained or to the potential for further injury, the child should be referred directly to a hospital or turned over to the proper local authorities. The dentist should always call ahead to the hospital or specialist, noting his or her concern of possible abuse or neglect.
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