Knowledge and Attitudes of the Public in Saudi Arabia about Forensic Odontology during COVID-19
Background: Forensic odontology is the handling and examination of dental evidence and the accurate interpretation and preservation of dental findings in the interests of justice. The aim of this study was to assess the level of knowledge and attitudes of the public in Saudi Arabia about forensic odontology during COVID-19. Methods: A total of 784 adult participants from 17 cities answered a self-reported questionnaire in this cross-sectional study. The questionnaire was composed of 55 questions about their knowledge of and attitudes about forensic odontology and their willingness to register with a national dental registry. The questionnaire was validated and had a Cronbach’s alpha of 0.78 and 0.75. Results: The total knowledge score was 9.35 (out of 21), and standard deviation (SD) of 4.68. Adults and employed participants had significantly higher forensic odontology knowledge levels than older and retired participants (p<0.05). There was a moderate attitude toward the usefulness of forensic odontology during the COVID-19 pandemic, ranging from 36.61% to 61.48%. A total of 74.62% were willing to register with a national dental registry if one is established. Conclusion: The public in Saudi Arabia have relatively low levels of knowledge about forensic dentistry. They had a good attitude about participating in a national dental registry. Most of them agreed on the importance of using forensic odontology in global public health disasters such as the COVID-19 pandemic. However, forensic odontology still needs to be introduced to the public, with more efforts exerted toward educational and health promotion activities.