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Journal of Dental Hygiene








Purpose Disaster victim identification (DVI) service requires knowledge, confidence, and an attitude (KCA) of readiness. The purpose of this study was to assess allied dental students’ perceived KCA regarding DVI skills and topics.

Methods A convenience sample of senior dental hygiene students (n=27) and senior dental assistant students (n=14) were recruited by email then presented mismatched simulated antemortem (AM) and postmortem (PM) bitewing radiographs and asked to indicate correct matches. Collectively, participants made 205 radiographic matches and indicated 205 degrees of certainty binarily as “positive” or “possible” (one per match). Participants also completed a researcher designed pretest/posttest electronic survey with seven 3-point Likert-scale items with answer options of “slightly”, “moderately”, or “extremely” regarding self-perceived knowledge. Statistical analyses were conducted with R software using an α=0.05 significance level.

Results A total of n=41 students participated, yielding a response rate of 85.4%. A one-sided linear trend test revealed statistically significant increases of perceived confidence in knowledge from pretest to posttest regarding forensic odontologists’ role in DVI (p<0.0001), DVI applications for mass fatality incidents (MFI) (p<0.0001), role of dental radiology in DVI (p<0.0001), and dental morphology applications for DVI (p<0.0001). Participants indicated moderate or extreme confidence in personal clinical skillsets to assist forensic odontologists with DVI. A one-sided Fisher’s exact test revealed a statistically significant (p<0.05) positive association between expressed degree of certainty (confidence) and correct radiographic matches. A one-sided linear trend test revealed statistically significant (p<0.0001) improvements in attitude regarding participants’ perceived importance for their respective professions to volunteer in DVI.

Conclusion Participants of this study reported significant improvements of self-perceived KCA regarding DVI skills and topics. These characteristics may encourage allied dental professionals to pursue further DVI educational opportunities and future service when support is needed for MFI.


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Original Publication Citation

Vest, S. C., Bradshaw, B. T., Voelker, M. A., Bruhn, A. M., Newcomb, T. L., & Sikdar, S. (2024). Allied dental students' perceived knowledge, confidence, and attitudes regarding disaster victim identification topics. Journal of Dental Hygiene, 98(2), 30-38.


0000-0003-1230-5162 (Sikdar)