Objective: To investigate awareness and practices of dental trauma first aid (DTFA) in hospital emergency settings and in primary and secondary schools in London.
Design: A cross-sectional study using self-administered questionnaires and semi-structured interviews.
Setting: Primary and secondary schools and casualty/emergency and walk-in casualty centres in London in 2005.
Subjects and methods: A randomly selected sample of 125 schools and a total of 31 walk-in casualty centres, providing services for five randomly selected London boroughs. A person responsible for emergency care of children represented each of these study sites.
Results: Response rates of 81.6% and 87% were achieved for schools and casualty/emergency centres respectively. The school respondents who had previously received advice on DTFA were three times more likely to be willing to replant an avulsed tooth compared to those who had not. A third of casualty personnel showed gaps in knowledge in DTFA. Results from schools showed an unwillingness to start emergency action mainly due to perceived inadequacy in knowledge/skills and also for legal reasons.
Conclusion: There is the need for further studies focused on the barriers resulting in unwillingness to provide DTFA among school personnel and clarification regarding issues of responsibility and acceptable levels of competence of professionals other than dentists.