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Type: Journal article
Title: The importance of increasing the forensic relevance of oral health records for improved human identification outcomes
Author: Stow, L.
Higgins, D.
Citation: Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences, 2019; 51(1):49-56
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Issue Date: 2019
ISSN: 0045-0618
Statement of
Lauren Stow and Denice Higgins
Abstract: Dental comparison can confirm human identity to a high degree of certainty. Research examining Australian-made records demonstrated suboptimal recording of dental traits important for forensic dental identification and compliance with Dental Board of Australia (DBA) record keeping guidelines. This is a significant issue for human identification by dental comparison; lack of adequate antemortem information can hinder or obstruct outcomes. Reported identification opinions from the Forensic Odontology Unit of South Australia (FOUSA) during 2011-2015 were assessed to determine whether the quantitative and qualitative value of antemortem records affected the ultimate identification outcome. Identity was established in 79% (n=197) of the 249 cases presented to the FOU-SA; odontology was unable to categorically confirm an individual's identity for the remaining 21%. Dental records of almost all cases demonstrated a lack of antemortem data for comparison. Inadequate antemortem information within dental records may preclude identity determination; at minimum, an outcome is hindered by a greater number of issues requiring reconciliation. Given previous results regarding adherence to DBA guidelines, practitioners should reasonably be expected to make small recording changes to improve the continuity of clinical patient care. This antemortem recording improvement will potentially improve the rate at which a forensic identification is reconciled.
Keywords: Forensic, dental, identification, outcomes, records
Description: First published online 4 April 2017
Rights: © 2017 Australian Academy of Forensic Sciences
RMID: 0030068062
DOI: 10.1080/00450618.2017.1310923
Appears in Collections:Dentistry publications

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