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Article: Volume 48 Number 2 Page 148 - February 2021

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  Dent Update 2021; 48: 148-151

Dental Analysis:  Comparative Dental Analysis: Should Dentists Release Dental Records?

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Abstract: Comparative dental analysis is the main role of a UK forensic dentist. It is undertaken to determine whether postmortem findings are in agreement with the provided antemortem data for an individual, in order to achieve a positive identification. It requires dentists to maintain accurate dental records and, when a confirmatory identification is required, to breach their confidentiality obligations to their patients. Several different dental records can prove helpful during the process, which are outlined in a novel checklist designed to guide both practitioners and law enforcement officers. It is supported by the UK Missing Persons Unit and the British Association of Forensic Odontology (BAFO) and is available to download in a PDF format from dentalidrecordchecklist.com.

Clinical relevance: All dental practitioners should be aware of forensic dentistry as a specialism and how they may be required to help during a human identification. Understanding the principles of comparative dental analysis should be attained, thus recognizing the importance of releasing dental records, preventing delays and uncertainty around breaching confidentiality obligations.

Author notes: Claire Sallis BSc, BDS, MSc, GDP, Devonshire Park Dental Practice, Birkenhead. Scheila Mânica DDS, MSc (For Od), PhD, Lecturer in Forensic Odontology, Academic Advisor to British Association for Forensic Odontology, Centre for Forensic and Legal Medicine and Dentistry, University of Dundee. email: csallis@hotmail.co.uk

Objective: To understand the importance of releasing dental records for comparative dental analysis and the types of records required in order to help the process of human identification using odontology.

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