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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 57  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 50  

Role of public health dentist towards domestic violence

Senior lecturer, Department of Public Health Dentistry, Sree Sidhartha Dental College, Tumkur, India

Date of Web Publication4-May-2013

Correspondence Address:
H Mythri
Senior lecturer, Department of Public Health Dentistry, Sree Sidhartha Dental College, Tumkur-572101
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-557X.111385

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How to cite this article:
Mythri H. Role of public health dentist towards domestic violence. Indian J Public Health 2013;57:50

How to cite this URL:
Mythri H. Role of public health dentist towards domestic violence. Indian J Public Health [serial online] 2013 [cited 2023 Feb 7];57:50. Available from:


I would like to congratulate Stephen Lena Charlette for highlighting a very important issue regarding Domestic Violence (DV) in India and need for public-health action. [1] It has emphasized on inter-sectoral approach by sharing knowledge and raising awarenessand hence, it becomes important for public-health sector to foster an environment to recognize and refer to overcome this epidemic in India.

A study reported 38.7% of DV injuries are related to head and neck region. Of the dental trauma cases, 59.1% were fractures, 27.2% were luxations and 13.7% were avulsions. The most frequently injured teeth were the incisors [2] and dental professionals may observe visible injuries to patient's neck including, ligature marks, scratches, abrasions, and scrapes, petechia on the neck, face, eyes, mouth, swelling, and difficulty in swallowing, which could be indicators of DV. [3] In a survey conducted in Texas over half of participants had seen dentist when signs of abuse were present but 88.6% among them were not asked about injuries. [4] To combat this hidden epidemic problem, education about DV will be helpful for dentists to consider their responsible role in public health dentistry. Unfortunately, few oral health-care professionals are knowledgeable about this and many don't know what appropriate actions to take.

No studies have been conducted to determine what services DV victims want or need from dental professionals. However, the authors of an article titled "Changing dentists, knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors regarding DV through interactive multimedia tutorial" developed a tool called "AVDR." [5] It is an acronym for "asking, validating, documenting, and referring."

The four-stage AVDR process involves the following:

  1. Askingthe patient about the injury or incident
  2. Providing validating messages that battering is wrong and it is not the victim's fault in any circumstance
  3. Documenting signs, symptoms, or any verbal disclosures that the patient has shown or given in the patient's records in writing and with any pictures, and
  4. Referring victims to a DV specialist, which may include counselors, authorities, or shelters.
Even though, the dentist can't solve the problem of DV, the AVDR intervention which is quick and simple way to tackle can be used when abuse is suspected.

Hence, educating in identification, intervention, and quick action to refer the patient for medical evaluation and treatment can be a small public dental health step towards major epidemiological problem.

   References Top

1.Charlette SL, Nongkynrih B, Gupta SK. Domestic violence in India: Need for public health action. Indian J Public Health 2012;56:140-5.  Back to cited text no. 1
  Medknow Journal  
2.Garbin CA, Guimarães e Queiroz AP, Rovida TA, Garbin AJ. Occurrence of traumatic dental injury in cases of domestic violence. Braz Dent J 2012;23:72-6.  Back to cited text no. 2
3.Enhancing Dental Professionals′ Response to Domestic Violence. 1-4. Available from: http://www.futures without [Lastaccessed 2012Oct 22].  Back to cited text no. 3
4.Nelms AP, Gutmann ME, Solomon ES, Dewald JP, Campbell PR. What victims of domestic violence need from the dental profession. J Dent Educ 2009;73:490-8.  Back to cited text no. 4
5.Hsieh NK, Herzig K, Gansky SA, Danley D, Gerbert B. Changing dentists′ knowledge, attitudes and behavior regarding domestic violence through an interactivemultimedia tutorial. J Am Dent Assoc 2006;137:596-603.  Back to cited text no. 5

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[Pubmed] | [DOI]


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