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J Forensic Dent Sci. 2011 Jul;3(2):63-6. doi: 10.4103/0975-1475.92145.

Awareness of forensic odontology among dental practitioners in Chennai: A knowledge, attitude, practice study.

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1
Department of Oral Pathology and Microbiology, Meenakshi Ammal Dental College and Hospital, Maduravoyal, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The aim of the study is to analyze the knowledge, attitude and practice of forensic odontology among dental practitioners in Chennai.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

A cross-sectional study was conducted in a sample of 322 dental practitioners in Chennai and data was collected by means of a questionnaire.

RESULTS:

Twenty-one percent of the dental practitioners did not maintain dental records in their clinic/workplace, with only 12% of the practitioners maintaining complete records. Ninety-three percent of dental practitioners were not maintaining dental records for more than seven years. The significance of ante-mortem records in identifying deceased suspects was not known to 17% of the dental practitioners. Forty percent of the dental practitioners were not aware of child abuse and the actions to be taken. Dental age estimation was not known to 41% of the dental practitioners. Thirty-eight percent of the practitioners were unaware of the accurate method of individual identification. About 18% of the dental practitioners did not know the significance of bite mark patterns of the teeth. Ninety-three percent of the practitioners lacked formal training in collecting, evaluating and presenting dental evidence. Thirty percent of dental practitioners did not know they can testify as an expert witness in the court of law. Forty percent of the dental practitioners were unaware of identifying the age and gender of an individual in mass disasters.

CONCLUSION:

Our study revealed inadequate knowledge, poor attitude and lack of practice of forensic odontology prevailing among the dental practitioners in Chennai.

KEYWORDS:

Chennai; attitude and practice study; dental practitioners; forensic odontology; knowledge

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