Bones heal, teeth don't! The involvement of dentists in the acute and long-term management of patients injured in the Manchester Arena Bomb

Key Points

  • Suggests that dental health is important to patients, even in the context of other multisystem trauma. It aids physical and psycho-social recovery.

  • Highlights that multidisciplinary management is vital in providing patients with holistic care.

  • Demonstrates how continued and particularly immediate involvement of paediatric dentistry helped to mitigate long-term dental complications. This reduced the likelihood of pain and general anaesthetic burden for dental treatment and their associated morbidity.


This paper outlines the involvement of dentists in the treatment of patients following the terror attack at Manchester Arena on 22 May 2017. It predominantly describes the role of the authors – a paediatric dental consultant and maxillofacial surgery dental core trainee (DCT). As a result of the incident a number of patients suffered oro-facial injuries, with many treated at Central Manchester Foundation Trust Hospitals' Manchester Royal Infirmary and Royal Manchester Children's Hospital. The major incident response of the trust is discussed, as are the presentation of blast injuries and corresponding NHS guidance. Two paediatric cases present the role of the paediatric dental consultant in the acute, intermediate and long-term management of these patients. The presentation of unique dento-alveolar injuries in the context of other trauma and their subsequent treatment demanded true multidisciplinary management. The importance of teeth and oral health to physical and psycho-social wellbeing and recovery was clear and recognised by other teams involved in the patients' management. The experience reinforced the overall impact dental health has on physical and psycho-social health, and how a holistic approach is integral to treatment of major trauma.

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Correspondence to L. Timms.

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Timms, L., May, J. Bones heal, teeth don't! The involvement of dentists in the acute and long-term management of patients injured in the Manchester Arena Bomb. Br Dent J 224, 681–688 (2018).

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