• Thesis Title: The Role of Dental Records in Forensic Odontology
  • Author: Mohd Fadhli Khamis
  • Submitted as a requirement for: Graduate Diploma in Forensic Odontology
  • Date: October 2001

Abstract: Dental identification has proven successful in many cases. The teeth are robust and individual characteristics of the dentition make identification possible in cases such as death caused by accident, incineration, and cases exhibiting associated decomposition and/or skeletonisation. Ante-mortem dental records are required for comparison in order to facilitate identification in scenarios such as vehicular and aircraft accidents, drowning, house fires, war victims, flood and other natural disasters.

Good quality dental records provide sufficient information to allow identification. Poor quality dental records can make the identification process impossible. This study assessed the status of Malaysian dental records compared with dental records maintained in Australia, and the knowledge of dental practitioners of the forensic value of the dental records. 50 dental records from Malaysia and 49 dental records from Australia were compared. Non-parametric tests show that the standard of Malaysian dental records is significantly lower (at 5% significance level) than Australian standards and only 45% of the survey respondents considered the forensic value of the dental records maintained in their clinics. Both results are disheartening and indicate that dental forensic services in Malaysia will face difficulties in the provision of services, and that active action to improve the situation is crucial and urgently needed.