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Knowledge, attitude and practice of forensic odontology among 307 dental practitioners in western Maharashtra, India

Author: 
Rajendra Baad
Subject Area: 
Health Sciences
Abstract: 

Objectives: To analyze the knowledge, attitude and practice of forensic Odontology among 307 dental practitioners of western Maharashtra, India. Materials and Methods: Data was collected by means of a questionnaire from a cross sectional sample of 307 dental practitioners of Western Maharashtra. Results: 100% dental practitioners maintained dental records in some form, but ironically only 7 % of them maintained complete dental records. 93% of them were aware of the significance of maintaining records in forensic identification. Only 13% were aware that both parent counseling and child guidance referral clinic were essential in dealing with such victims while 14% dental practitioners were unaware of what their role is in identification of cases with child abuse. 26% dental practitioners used both eruption sequence and radiographs methods for age estimation. 51% dental practitioners were aware that DNA fingerprinting was the most sensitive method for forensic identification. 25% dental practitioners were unaware of the bite marks pattern of teeth. 89% dental practitioners did not have any formal training in collecting, evaluating and presenting dental evidence. 37% dental practitioners were not aware that they could testify as an expert witness in the court of law. 73% dental practitioners did not use identification code numbers on prosthetic devices and dental implants. Only11% maintained the identification code number records. 42% dental practitioners used the FDI system, 34 % used universal system and 24% used the Zsigmondy/Palmer method while maintaining dental records. 65% dental practitioners reported their inability for age and gender identification in cases of mass disasters. Conclusion: Our study revealed that dental practitioners from this region have adequate knowledge of forensic odontology, but lack of formal training, inadequate forensic laboratories, poor attitude and lack of interest was prevalent.

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