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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 17-20

A cross-sectional study to assess knowledge, attitude, and awareness of forensic odontology among medical students: An emergency concern


1 Department of Oral Pathology and Microbiology, Vydehi Institute of Dental Sciences and Research Centre, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
2 Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Vydehi Institute of Dental Sciences and Research Centre, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
3 Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, Vydehi Institute of Dental Sciences and Research Centre, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
4 Department of Paedodontics, Vydehi Institute of Dental Sciences and Research Centre, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Jayalakshmi Kumaraswamy
Department of Oral Pathology and Microbiology, Vydehi Institute of Dental Sciences and Research Centre, Bengaluru, Karnataka
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijfo.ijfo_3_18

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Background: Medical professionals are important in treating and management of victims of mass disasters, abuse, and organized crimes. Although the forensic odontologist has a pivotal role in the investigation, health-care provider in the emergency medicine should have the potential to detect, inform, and interact with the dentist for further applications in legal issues. We aimed to conduct the present study on the knowledge, awareness, and attitude among the medical students. Materials and Methods: With informed consent, we conducted a cross-sectional study among 194 4th-year medical students. A structured questionnaire consisting of 17 items relating to forensic odontology to assess the knowledge, awareness, and attitude among medical students and data were collected and reviewed. Results: On analyzing the collected data of 194 participants, the percentage of participants who knew: the meaning of forensic odontology, forensic odontology a part of forensic medicine, and role of forensic odontology in the criminal analysis were 172 (87%), 192 (99%), and 181 (93%), respectively. A total of 183 (94%) were aware of bite mark patterns, 171 (88%) would examine for bite marks in child abuse, 89 (46%) the lip prints, DNA as accurate and sensitive method of comparison and teeth as source of DNA was 128 (66%) and 122 (63%), respectively. A total of 127 (65%) agreed that forensic odontologist as experts, 101 (52%) had opted for dental evidence, and 139 (72%) had agreed that postmortem unit should include a dental laboratory facility. However, only 79 (41%) knew the tooth as the choice of evidence in mass disaster. 101 (52%) stated dentist as expert witness. The awareness of the role of teeth in age and gender estimation was 147 (76%) and 79 (41%), respectively. Forty-nine (25%) had handled forensic dentistry case in emergency medicine and importance of maintaining dental records were known to 85 (44%). Conclusions: Medical students had inadequate knowledge of forensic odontology. As a health-care provider, medical professionals should understand the implications of forensic odontology.


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