The attitudes and awareness of emergency department (ED) physicians towards the management of common dentofacial emergencies

Chetan Trivedy, Naonori Kodate, Alastair Ross, Harrith Al-Rawi, Thiagarajan Jaiganesh, Tim Harris, Janet E. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Dentofacial emergencies are a common presentation to the emergency department (ED) but there is little recent data on physicians knowledge, confidence and attitudes in handling these cases.

Method: A questionnaire was administered to 103 ED physicians. The sample was primarily drawn from London hospitals as well a smaller contribution from around the UK and included physicians with a range of experience and at different grades.

Results: The majority of the 102 participants (76.5%) did not receive any formal training in managing dentofacial emergencies. The percentage of participants who were happy to manage common dentofacial emergencies is as follows: dental trauma (20.4%); major facial trauma (39.8%); interpreting facial X-rays (68.0%); and facial suturing (85.4%). When questioned 12.1% of the participants felt that ED physicians should be responsible for managing dental emergencies compared to 22.4% who felt that ED physicians should manage maxillofacial emergencies. Only 3.9% of the participants would opt to be treated by an ED doctor in the event of them presenting to the ED with a dental injury. The remaining 72.5% would prefer to be seen by a maxillofacial surgeon, 23.5% by a dentist and none of the participants opted to be seen by the emergency nurse practitioner.

Conclusion: ED physicians do not feel confident in managing some dentofacial emergencies. This may be attributed to a lack of training in this area as well as exposure to these types of emergencies. There is a need for greater awareness, validated guidelines and training resources for ED physicians to treat dentofacial emergencies as well more research in this field of emergency medicine.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121 - 126
Number of pages6
Issue number2
Early online date23 Nov 2011
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2012


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