What victims of domestic violence need from the dental profession. Academic Article uri icon


  • Most dental schools teach students about domestic abuse, but it is unknown if this information is ever applied in practice. This study was conducted to determine whether domestic violence victims 1) visited dental offices when signs of abuse were present; 2) were asked about their injuries; 3) were given referrals or assistance; and 4) want the abuse recognized by and discussed with the dental professional. A survey was developed and mailed to fifteen shelters. Eleven (73.3 percent) shelters participated, with a total of 112 out of 165 (67.8 percent) surveys returned. Descriptive statistics were analyzed, and an ANOVA test was conducted to determine if a relationship existed between the incidence of abuse and ethnicity. Seventy-six percent of respondents had suffered physical abuse in the head and neck area. Over half of the participants had seen a dentist when signs of abuse were present, yet 88.6 percent were not asked about their injuries. In addition, 69.2 percent responded that they would have liked to have been asked about their injuries. It appears that the dental profession needs to take a more active role in the recognition of domestic violence in their patient populations. Raising dentists and dental hygienists' awareness of the problem and potentially increasing the number of referrals may help more victims.

published proceedings

  • J Dent Educ

altmetric score

  • 10.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Nelms, A. P., Gutmann, M. E., Solomon, E. S., Dewald, J. P., & Campbell, P. R

citation count

  • 25

complete list of authors

  • Nelms, Amy P||Gutmann, Marylou E||Solomon, Eric S||Dewald, Janice P||Campbell, Patricia R

publication date

  • April 2009