Journal of Forensic Dental Sciences
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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 52-57

Maintaining dental records: Are we ready for forensic needs?

1 Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, PAHER University, Pacific Dental College and Hospital, Debari, Udaipur, Rajasthan, India
2 Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, People's Denal Academy, Bhopal, India
3 Department of Oral Medicine & Radiology, People's College of Dental Sciences & Research Centre, Bhopal, India

Correspondence Address:
Madhusudan Astekar
Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, PAHER University, Pacific Dental College and Hospital, Debari, Udaipur - 313 024, Rajasthan
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0975-1475.92143

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Context: Dental remains are usually the last to get destroyed among body parts after death. They may be useful for personal identification in cases of mass disasters and decomposed unidentified bodies. Dental records may help in the identification of suspects in criminal investigations and in medicolegal cases. Maintenance of dental records is legally mandatory in most of the European and American countries. Unfortunately, the law is not very clear in India, and the awareness is very poor. Aims: To assess the awareness regarding the dental record maintenance among dentists in Rajasthan, to deduce the quality of average dental records kept by them and to evaluate the potential use of their maintained records, in any of forensic or medicolegal cases. Settings and Design: A cross-sectional survey was conducted among 100 dental practitioners of different cities in Rajasthan, India. Materials and Methods: Data were collected through a structured questionnaire, which was responded by the study population in the course of a telephonic interview. The questionnaire addressed on the mode of maintaining dental records in their regular practice. Statistical Analysis Used: The data so gathered were subjected for descriptive analysis. Results: As for knowledge or awareness about maintaining dental records, surprisingly a very low percentile (about 38%) of surveyed dentists maintained records. Sixty-two percent of the dentists were maintaining no records at all. Conclusion : Nonmaintenance or poor quality of records maintained indicates that the dentists in Rajasthan are not prepared for any kind of forensic and medicolegal need if it arises.

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