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Dentists help spot domestic violence

Dentists are able to help spot domestic and interpersonal violence within their patients.

Posted: Feb. 17, 2018 3:30 PM
Updated: Feb. 18, 2018 9:54 AM

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI)--75 percent of domestic violence cases involve head and neck injuries.

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Everyone is told to watch for the warning signs but what if they were hidden inside the mouth?

When a dentist works on a patient, they may not make the connection to domestic and interpersonal violence.

But after they open wide, they may have a chance to help someone being abused.

Becky Wellner, Director of Domestic Violence Awareness Prevention and Intervention Program, works at the Youth Women's Center Association, says dentists have a unique opportunity to ask those hard questions.

She knows it's a hard call to make.

But some patients are waiting for someone to notice.

"There was a large percentage of clients that would have disclosed if they were asked."Wellner said

As a dentist Susan Snyder understands a patient's hesitation.

"All of our responsibility is to gain someone's trust, and that is not always easy for someone who can't trust." Snyder says.

Even a patient's response to a certain question can raise a red flag.

Wellner just wants dentists to be aware.

"If providers would be just open to asking." Wellner said.

A question...that could potentially save someone's life.

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