A missing or dead person can more conclusively be identified with their dental records stored in your dentist’s office next door.
How is that even possible?
The dental records maintained at your local dental clinic can be used to identify a deceased person who is not identifiable by any other means.
But, that is just one circumstance where maintaining the dental records up to date with your dentist becomes important.
A dental record is a detailed document of previously undertaken and currently ongoing dental treatments, and also future treatment plans if any. It includes the medical history of the patient too.
Dental records consist of a variety of material generated and stored in handwritten and electronic format and include:
● Notes made by the dentist and staff at the clinic.
● Complete medical history: It is very important to maintain a comprehensive record of medications taken by the patient as well as their exact health status as some drugs need to be stopped prior to dental treatment.
● Consent documents. Before commencing any invasive dental procedure, it is essential to take the patient’s consent and preserve it carefully.
● X-rays and other tracings and measurements.
● Diagnostic images, reports and models of teeth.
● Records of financial transactions.
● Appointment books.
● Progress notes.
They are a critical aspect of a patient's record because they are essential for treatment continuity. Progress notes should be completed during or immediately after each visit by the treating doctor.
Importance of maintaining dental records:
● Knowing the previous dental history - The records provide extensive details about the dental treatments carried out by the previous dentist.
● Defense against allegations of malpractice - Dental records may be used in the court of law to establish the diagnostic information that was obtained and the treatment that was rendered.
● Records also promote academic teaching and research.
● Referral to a Specialist or a Medical Doctor - The dental records would give accurate information to other treating medical doctors when a team of doctors are involved in the treatment plan.
Forensic experts are increasingly demanding dental records to identify those who perished in major disasters like fire accidents, plane crashes, earthquakes, and floods.
Benefits of dental records over other forensic evidence are:
1. Teeth and jawbones are not easily destroyed by fire, water, etc.
2. Teeth condition and alignment are unique for each person.
3. Dental records are easily accessible than fingerprints.
In addition, dental records also help the Police in identifying culprits in cases of rape, child abuse and theft cases. Dental experts can extract DNA from the tooth structure to cross match and identify a victim or culprit.
So, if your records are handed over to you, ensure you maintain your records safely. It is wise to periodically check for any future need. Without any records, only the victim’s age and sex can be determined, but with a thorough set of dental records, the exact identity of the person can easily be established.
Choose a dentist who values keeping a good physical or electronic dental record. At Dental Ville- Dental Implant Centre, we maintain Dental records of every patient’s every visit in the Digital format. In addition, you can even ask for a copy of your Dental records from your dentist for safekeeping.