Forensic Medicine and the Military Population: International Dental Records and Personal Identification Concerns

Maria Inês Guimarães, Augusta Silveira, Teresa Sequeira, Joaquim Gonçalves, Maria José Carneiro Sousa, Aurora Valenzuela


Introduction: The first goal of this research was to perceive the global commitment towards the organization and archiving of dental records and to compare it with each country’s security risk rating. The second one was to study dental records in a sample of the Portuguese military population, using the available national dental records.
Material and Methods: An e-mail was sent to representative dentistry associations in several countries, requesting some information concerning the professionals’ awareness of this issue. After obtaining permission from the Ethics Committee, the information was collected through the Forensic Dental Symbols® system into the Dental Encoder®, as an extension of a Spanish study, and a generic codification was used (unrestored, restored, missing and crowned teeth).
Results: The most common dental record retention period is ten years after treatment. Observing the samples’ dental records (595 files), we found a total of 19 040 analyzed teeth, with the following frequencies: unrestored (89.6%), restored (7.0%), missing (2.2%) and crowned (1.1%).
Discussion: There is a wide range of guidelines on how long dentists should keep dental records. Especially for the military population, dental records must include detailed information concerning each tooth situation, in order to support the process of human identification.
Conclusion: This article reinforces the need for mandatory quality dental records in all countries, which must be efficiently stored and easily accessible in case dental identification is necessary. For the military population, these requirements are especially important, due to the added risks to which this group is subject.


Dental Records; Forensic Dentistry; Military Personnel; Portugal

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