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Child Maltreatment: The Role of a Dental Professional

Course Number: 599

What Presenting Problems Suggest Possible Child Maltreatment?

Craniofacial, head, face, and neck injuries occur in more than half of child abuse cases.7 Oral trauma, caries, gingivitis and other oral health problems are more prevalent in maltreated children than in the general pediatric population. A dental professional must therefore be able to identify and address physical and behavioral manifestations that suggest possible abuse and/or neglect. The following is an outline of possible signs and symptoms of physical abuse, sexual abuse, psychological/emotional abuse, and neglect.