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Background & Aim: Child abuse and neglect is a very serious problem that has long consequences for those involved and for society in general. Dental professionals are in an exceptional position to identify and report these cases. Statistics of previous studies revealed that only one percent of dentists reported suspected cases. Aims of the study are to help dentists to learn about their ethical responsibilities and legal obligation toward child abuse cases and how to detect and report them. Methods: This study will demonstrate types and consequences of child abuse and neglect and the prevalence worldwide. In addition, ethical and legal concerns of different health care organizations related to dentists’ are reporting suspected cases. Oral symptoms of child abuse and neglect will be discussed and classified according to the type: physical abuse, sexual abuse and neglect. Physical abuse may results in lacerations of tongue, oral mucosa, palate, gingiva alveolar mucosa or frenum; fractured, displaced, or avulsed teeth; facial bone and jaw fractures; burns; or other injuries. Sexual abuse may represents significant oral manifestations as oral and perioral gonorrhoea, unexplained erythema or petechiae of the palate, particularly at the junction of the hard and soft palate, pseudomembranous and condylomatous lesions of lips, tongue, palate and nose-pharynx. Dental neglect is detected by untreated early Childhood Caries, odontogenous infection or pain, periodontal diseases. Conclusion: Child abuse and neglect can be prevented by dentist’s awareness about their roles of reporting these cases and strengthen their abilities to detect them in early stage.
Marwa Sabry is an Assistant Lecturer at Paediatric Dentistry and Dental Public Health Department, Kafr El-Sheikh University, Egypt. She has completed a Bachelor of Dentistry degree and MS in Dental Public Health from Alexandria University, MS in Hospital Administration from High Institution of Public Health, and Diploma in Total Quality Management from American University in Cairo. She is working in the field of Health Administration, Quality management and Public Health since 10 year. She plays an active role in community, she cooperates number of national and international associations to provide health educational programs and epidemiological surveys to raise people’s awareness.
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