How Dentists Can Help Domestic Violence Victims
At present, domestic violence is prevalent almost everywhere and it has become so alarming these days that it often leads to divorce and even homicides. In fact, 1 in every 4 females and 1 in every 6 males become victims of this type of violence at least once in their lifetime. These victims are subjected to emotional, physical, as well as verbal abuse which can often make them feel intimidated and also helpless as well. However, it is possible to save lives by identifying the symptoms of domestic violence. Dental practitioners act as the first responders to these domestic violence victims, and individuals with broken teeth and other facial injuries are more likely to see a dentist instead of a medical practitioner in most cases. This definitely places the dentists at the forefront of an early intervention.
Below we will mention how dentists can help domestic violence victims.
1. Talk to the victims
The oral health, as well as lives of these victims, can be threatened by domestic abuse, and it is imperative to take the help of dentists in such cases who do have the responsibility of following up on any indication of domestic abuse. A recent study conducted in 2009 revealed the fact that almost half of the domestic violence victims visited a dentist once they were abused in some way or other. However, the majority of them asserted that they were not enquired regarding their injuries, and also that they wanted to be questioned regarding that matter. It is imperative for the dental practitioners to ask some simple and direct questions regarding domestic abuse which must include asking about those who committed the violence. It is likewise the responsibility of the dentists to document the indications of violence with photographs.
2. Listen to the victims
It is vital for the dentists to make their patient understand that the dental clinic is a safe area for them to communicate privately. They must encourage their patients to talk freely and candidly with them. The patients must likewise comprehend the importance of talking to the dentists regarding what has exactly happened o them considering the fact that the majority of them go on seeing a dentist even though they might have stopped going to other medical practitioners. It is crucial for the victims to trust their dentists and convey everything that has taken place.
3. Heal the victims
The victims should be asked by the dentists to report the violence that they have been subjected to. They should be helped to comprehend exactly what resources are available to them. If the situation demands, the victims should be provided with the copies of the resource cards as well. Reconstructive dentistry can be a part of the healing procedure in the event of any domestic violence, and the dentists can help the patients to lead a normal life once again by restoring the smile to their face.
A family dentist can prove to be the difference between allowing the violence to continue or ending it. Apart from providing treatment for the gums and teeth, the dentist will be able to identify other problems as well. They are not going to make the patients feel uncomfortable; instead, their job will be to spot any indication of domestic abuse and help the patient recover from it as soon as possible.
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