Journal of Forensic Dental Sciences
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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 7-12

Dentistry to the rescue of missing children: A review

Department of Paediatric and Preventive Dentistry, Swami Devi Dyal Hospital and Dental College, Haryana, India

Correspondence Address:
Gulsheen Kaur Kochhar
3275, Sargodha Society, Sector 50-D, Chandigarh - 160 047, Haryana and Punjab
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0975-1475.176947

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Today's society is becoming increasingly unsafe for children: we frequently hear about new incidents of missing children, which lead to emotional trauma for the loved ones and expose systemic failures of law and order. Parents can take extra precautions to ensure the safety of their children by educating them about ways to protect themselves and keep important records of the child such as updated color photographs, fingerprints, deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) samples, etc., handy. However, in spite of all efforts, the problem of missing children still remains. Developments in the field of dentistry have empowered dentists with various tools and techniques to play a pivotal role in tracing a missing child. One such tool is Toothprints, a patented arch-shaped thermoplastic dental impression wafer developed by Dr. David Tesini, a paediatric dentist from Massachusetts. Toothprints enables a unique identification of the missing children not only through the bite impression but also through salivary DNA. Besides the use of Toothprints, a dentist can assist investigating agencies in identifying the missing children in multiple ways, including postmortem dental profiling, labeled dental fixtures, DNA extraction from teeth, and serial number engraving on the children's teeth. More importantly, all these tools cause minimal inconvenience to the individual, making a dentist's role in tracking a missing child even more significant. Thus, the simple discipline of maintaining timely dental records with the help of their dentists can save potential hassles for the parents in the future.

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