Examination and Diagnosis

To efficiently arrive at a correct diagnosis and treatment plan for the traumatized oral structures a systematic examination is necessary. Assessment includes a thorough history, visual and radiographic examination and additional tests such a palpation, percussion, pulp vitality testing and mobility evaluation. Intraoral and extraoral radiographs are useful for the evaluation of hard and soft tissue injuries. The use of an Assessment of Acute Traumatic Injuries (American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry) is valuable in obtaining the necessary information.5

When the patient presents for treatment of acute oral trauma, the facial and oral areas are heavily contaminated; therefore, the first step in the examination process is to wash the patient's face with a mild detergent. During the decontamination process an initial assessment of the injuries can be made.