Child Abuse

It is important to recognize that injuries can occur as a result of child abuse or neglect.

  • Craniofacial, head, face, and neck injuries are found in more than half of child abuse case. One study showed the lips are most likely to injured (54%).
  • Oral cavity may be a focus of abuse due to its role in communication and nutrition.
  • Injuries may include contusions, burns, lacerations of the soft tissue and loose teeth or facial bone/ jaw fractures.
  • All suspicious injuries should be reported to the appropriate child welfare agency.


Fisher-Owens SA, Lukefahr JL, Tate AR. American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, Council on Clinical Affairs, Council on Scientific Affairs, Ad Hoc Work Group on Child Abuse and Neglect, American Academy of Pediatrics, Section on Oral Health Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect. Oral and Dental Aspects of Child Abuse and Neglect. Pediatr Dent. 2017; 39(4):278-83.