Paediatric dental emergencies: a retrospective study and a proposal for definition and guidelines including pain management

Luc Martens, S. Rajasekharan, W. Jacquet, J. D. Vandenbulcke, J. W. G. Van Acker, R. G. E. C. Cauwels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: This was primarily to perform a retrospective analysis of 1000 emergency dental visits in order to characterize the nature of the dental emergency and the treatment provided and secondly to define a guideline for dental emergency treatment in children including pain management. Materials and methods: A retrospective review was conducted of 1000 patients (aged 0–16 years) who visited the dental emergency service of the paediatric dental clinic at the Ghent University Hospital, Belgium over a period of 3 years. Data regarding age, gender, reason for visit, year of visit, consequent appointments and treatment provided were collected. Statistical analysis was carried out using descriptive statistics (frequency distribution) and Chi-square test, with significance level set as P < 0.05. Results: The number of patients visiting with a dental emergency increased annually. Approximately half (50.2%) of all paediatric dental emergency consultations were based on pain due to caries and its consequences. More than a quartile (26.7%) of emergency patients suffered from dental trauma of either primar or permanent teeth. The majority (96.7%) of the patients reported pain, 16.3% of the patients did not necessarily need immediate attention. Conclusion: Dental emergencies in a university hospital based setting were predominantly related to caries and trauma. A precise definition of dental emergencies is recommended in order to prevent abuse of paediatric emergency services.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-253
Number of pages9
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018


  • Children
  • Emergency
  • Pain management

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