Dental trauma causes significant aesthetic, functional and psychosocial problems that often require emergency attention in children. The aim of this retrospective study was to assess the factors related to dental injuries in children. A secondary aim was to better understand how to improve the education given to children, parents and teachers in schools regarding dental trauma. Records of children who were referred to the Department of Pedodontics at Suleyman Demirel University were reviewed. A total of 1971 patients with a history of dental trauma who attended the clinic from 1999 to 2017 were evaluated. The following information was recorded: age, gender, year, aetiology, location, season and time elapsed after trauma. Results were evaluated using the Pearson chi-square test. The patients' average age was 8.56 ± 0.08. Dental injuries were frequent in the 7- to 12-year age group (55.9%). Children in the 0- to 6-year age group attended the clinic more frequently during the years 2013 and 2017 compared to previous years. Boys had a higher frequency of trauma than girls (P < 0.05). The most frequent cause of trauma was falls (46%). The accidents occurred predominantly in the street (41.8%). Trauma that took place at home increased in the later years of the study period, whereas the percentage of injuries occurring in schools decreased. The ratio of patients who attended the clinic within the first two days after trauma was 33.4% between 1999 and 2007, and this increased to 59.8% between 2013 and 2017. The majority of the injuries occurred during the summer. The aetiological factors related to trauma in children, and the number of patients who attended the clinic, have not changed over the 18-year period but the elapsed time to attend the clinic has changed. Education will increase the awareness regarding the importance of emergency intervention immediately following dental trauma. © 2019 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.