Smiles For Tomorrow
Soft Tissue Trauma

Course Author(s): American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry

Soft Tissue Trauma

Soft tissue trauma may include lacerations to the lips, frenum, tongue, cheeks, and hard and soft palate.  Frenum lacerations are common in toddlers who fall when learning to walk and are also associated with forced feeding.  Children who ambulate while holding rigid objects in their mouths are at risk for hard and soft palate lacerations when they fall.  Lacerated lips may contain tooth fragments if a tooth is also fractured in the injury. Fragments should be removed before suturing.

Wound management consists of hemorrhage control, cleansing, and sutures as indicated.  Antibiotics are recommended for “through and through” laceration.

The risk of severe dental and facial injuries can be reduced significantly when carefully fitted mouthguards and facemasks are worn when participating in sporting activities.  Routine use of helmets (e.g. for bicycling and skateboarding), seat belts, and age-appropriate car seats also can help decrease risk of orofacial injuries.