Mouth Injuries in Children
By The NAI Team
Mouth injuries are not different to any other injuries that children may sustain. In children they can range from bruising around the mouth, tears in the mouth through to damage to teeth and can indicate physical or sexual abuse and/or neglect, which is why any concerns must be investigation by children’s services. If a child has been forced to consume a hot substance then there may also be evidence of burns.
If your child has sustained an injury to one or more of their teeth, you will be questioned by the dentist examining your child as to how it happened. If they suspect the injury was caused by abuse or neglect, then they have a duty to inform authorities.
Torn frenulums are often thought to be a sign of physical abuse in a child and are uncommonly seen in hospitals. They are checked for as part of medical examinations of the child and often you will see ‘frenulum intact’ in medical records if there is no injury or abnormality. There are 3 frenula’s within the mouth, all of which would be checked for signs of injury. There is one under the tongue, one inside the lower lip and one inside the upper lip. Each are capable of being damaged. As they are relatively protected any sign of injury is usually considered to be suspicious.
Medical professionals are required to look out for signs of abuse when presented with this type of injury because it can be caused by a blow to the mouth or through forcing an object into it.
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