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J Forensic Dent Sci. 2018 Sep-Dec;10(3):158-163. doi: 10.4103/jfo.jfds_13_18.

Antemortem dental records versus individual identification.

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Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, SRM Dental College, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.



Forensic odontology plays a pivotal role in the identification of victims in mass disasters utilizing "preserved dental records" or "ante-mortem records" available with the general dental practitioners. Identification of a deceased individual by comparing antemortem and postmortem records is more reliable and easier as compared to other methods. However, in India, the practice of maintaining dental case record requires additional emphasis.


The aim of the present study is to assess the knowledge, attitude, and practices of dental practitioners in South India regarding awareness and importance of maintaining patient's dental records.

Settings and Design:

A descriptive questionnaire study was conducted among the alumni of the dental institution over a period of 3 months. The alumni who passed out from 2000 to 2015 were included in the study.

Materials and Methods:

A structured questionnaire containing 24 questions regarding the knowledge, attitude, and practice of maintaining clinical case records was prepared and validated. Data were collected from 543 dental practitioners from various parts of South India who were the alumni of the dental institution.

Statistical Analysis:

The data were summarized and analyzed using the statistical software Statistical Package for the Social Sciences. The descriptive analysis was done in percentages, and the results were tabulated.


Overall, 58.39% of dentists were found to be maintaining records promptly, and 84.6% dentists have knowledge about forensic odontology, but only 8.4% of dentists have helped the government agencies during mass disasters.


This study reveals that the need of the hour is to change the attitude and to cultivate interest among practicing dentists regarding dental record maintenance which can tremendously help in the deceased individual identification process.


Dental records; forensic odontology; general dental practitioners; mass disasters

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