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Course Number: 4

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 if they fall. Lacerated lips may contain tooth fragments if a tooth is also fractured in the injury. A soft tissue x-ray of the area of laceration should be taken and any tooth fragments or other debris should be removed before suturing or allowing for healing.

Wound management consists of hemorrhage control, cleansing, and sutures as indicated. Antibiotics are recommended for "through and through" lacerations.

Soft Tissue Trauma - Laceration of Tongue

Laceration of Tongue

Soft Tissue Trauma - Soft Tissue Trauma of the Palate

Soft Tissue Trauma of the Palate

Soft Tissue Trauma - Frenum Laceration

Frenum Laceration

Soft Tissue Trauma - Lacerated Lip

Lacerated Lip

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.

 Soft Tissue Trauma
Soft Tissue Trauma - Figure 6

Prevention of Dental Trauma