Treatment Priorities after Dental Trauma
1 To define trauma conditions that should be treated acutely (i.e. within a few hours), or can be treated subacutely (i.e. within 24 hours) or delayed (i.e. after 24 hours).
It has been commonly assumed that all injuries should be treated on an emergency basis. This was for the comfort of the patient and to reduce wound healing complications. For reasons of practicality and for the best use of resources, priorities can be assigned to various types of injuries. Acute treatment priority would be given to those injuries that would benefit from treatment within a few hours; subacute treatment priority would be given to those injuries in which treatment delays of up to 24 hours are not likely to affect healing outcomes; and delayed treatment priority would be for injuries for which treatment delayed more than 24 hours would be acceptable. Intra-oral treatment is difficult if the lips are sutured first. For this reason, suturing of lip lesions should be performed after intra-oral treatment has been completed. The following classification into these three categories is based on a recent study of the effect of treatment delay on the various trauma entities.31
ACUTE TREATMENT PRIORITY