Restoring More than Smiles in Broken Homes: Dental and Oral Biomarkers of Brain Injury in Domestic Violence

Timothy W. Ellis, Sheri Brownstein, Kevin Beitchman, Jonathan Lifshitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


While much of the focus on brain injury has centered on athletes and military veterans, victims of domestic violence (DV) comprise an under-represented cohort. Epidemiological studies show that a majority of domestic violence cases have a history of trauma to the head or neck resulting in both TBI and oral maxillofacial damage. However, distinctive oral injuries that are sustained simultaneously with brain trauma as a result of DV have yet to be fully elucidated. If a correlation can be made between specific oral injuries and TBI, then dentition may serve as a reliable biomarker for TBI. Specific dental biomarkers of injury would improve identification, diagnosis, and prognosis of TBI regardless of patient declamation. Dentists have the opportunity and obligation to add significantly to the body of knowledge regarding the frequency, presentation, profile, and characteristics of head and neck injuries of TBI in victims of DV. In so doing, the effort will fill the knowledge gaps and clarify misinformation in the lay, clinical, and scientific communities regarding the impact of TBI in DV events. The dental field can become a leader in branding the procedures, protocols, and clinical practices in the recognition and intervention against TBI in the DV population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)838-847
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Aggression, Maltreatment and Trauma
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2019


  • Dentistry
  • biomarker
  • brain injury
  • domestic violence
  • physical evidence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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