Rising scooter injuries: Dentists warn of growing trend in e-scooter accidents

A recent study published in the British Dental Journal reports an overall increase in electric scooter-related dental injuries in the United Kingdom between 2020 and 2022.

Study: E-scooter-related dental injuries: a two-year retrospective review. Image Credit: Skylines / Shutterstock.com

Study: E-scooter-related dental injuries: a two-year retrospective review. Image Credit: Skylines / Shutterstock.com

Dental injuries and electric scooters

Traumatic dental injuries account for about 5% of all bodily injuries. In addition to adversely affecting aesthetics, as well as both the physical and mental well-being of affected individuals, traumatic dental injuries can lead to various complications, including pulpal necrosis, root resorption, tooth ankylosis, and pulpal obliteration.

Electric scooters have recently gained significant popularity worldwide as a convenient alternative to other types of urban transportation. In June 2020, the U.K. government initiated a trial involving the implementation of electric scooters on roads in an effort to reduce transportation-related congestion and pollution.

Since its implementation, several reports on electric scooter-related facial and dental injuries have been documented in the U.K. However, there remains a lack of information currently available regarding the specific types of dental injuries caused by electric scooter use.

In the current study, scientists thoroughly analyze the demographic characteristics, dental injury patterns, and subsequent dental management approaches following the implementation of the electric scooter trial in the U.K.

Study design

The current study was conducted at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, U.K. The hospital's oral and maxillofacial surgery department created a dataset that included medical reports of patients who sustained dental injuries due to electric scooter use between September 2020 and September 2022. 

This dataset was comprehensively analyzed to collect information on patient demographic characteristics, cause of injury, helmet usage, intoxication status, specific dental injury status, head and other non-dental injury status, as well as dental management approaches applied.

Important observations

During the study period, a total of 32 adult patients presented to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital with dental injuries related to electric scooter use, about 72% of whom were male. About 38% of injured patients were between 20 and 29. 

The most common cause of dental injuries was unprovoked falls, which were reported in 53% of patients. Other recorded causes of dental injuries included collisions with stationary objects, uneven road surfaces, and alleged assaults on riders while using electric scooters. Regardless of the cause of the injury, men were more likely to sustain dental injuries than women.

Among 13 cases with helmet usage information, only two patients, one male and one female, reported wearing helmets. Comparatively, about 77% of male patients reported not wearing helmets.

Intoxication information was available for 12 patients, 11 of whom reported to be intoxicated at the time of injury. Alcohol was the most common intoxication substance, followed by cannabis. Both hard and soft tissue dental injuries were documented in 64% of intoxicated patients, whereas soft tissue and non-dental injuries were documented in 100% of intoxicated patients.

Traumatic brain injuries were documented in 31% of patients, with four patients requiring admission for neurological observations. About 90% of traumatic brain injury patients also experienced soft tissue dental injuries.

A total of 71 dental injuries were reported in 32 patients, 53% of which were soft tissue injuries. The most common soft tissue injury was laceration, with lips being the primary injury site.

Most soft tissue injuries required operative management under local or general anesthesia. In four cases, dental management involved debridement with or without wound dressing.       

The most commonly reported hard tissue dental injuries included enamel-dentine and enamel-dentine-pulp fractures. Operative management with a flexible-wire splint was required for three subluxation injuries.

Most hard tissue injuries occurred in the maxilla. The most frequently injured teeth were the upper right central and upper left central incisors. About 90% of patients with hard tissue dental injuries also experienced non-dental injuries.

One patient with a dentoalveolar fracture was treated conventionally due to critical illness. Unfortunately, this patient succumbed to these injuries.

Study significance

The current study reports an overall increase in dental injury cases due to electric scooter use in the U.K. between 2020 and 2022. These findings emphasize the importance of increasing public awareness about the potential risks of dental injuries associated with this mode of transportation.

Journal reference:

 

Dr. Sanchari Sinha Dutta

Written by

Dr. Sanchari Sinha Dutta

Dr. Sanchari Sinha Dutta is a science communicator who believes in spreading the power of science in every corner of the world. She has a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) degree and a Master's of Science (M.Sc.) in biology and human physiology. Following her Master's degree, Sanchari went on to study a Ph.D. in human physiology. She has authored more than 10 original research articles, all of which have been published in world renowned international journals.

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