Signs and Symptoms of Intimate Partner Violence for Dentists

Physical signs of physical abuse:

  • Public and private demeaning actions by intimate partner.
  • Excuses for physical appearance or behavior.
  • Injuries (may be in different stages of healing (black and blue or yellow bruises), bruises, lacerations, burns, fractures, torn frenum, complaints of headaches, chronic pain or inability to sleep.

Behavioral signs of physical abuse:

  • Personality changes.
  • Frightened behavior when with the opposite sex.
  • Afraid to go home.
  • Fear of conflict.
  • Report of injuries caused by intimate partner.
  • Drastic behavioral changes in presence of intimate partner.
  • Victim appears embarrassed, vague, anxious, or depressed.
  • Has a partner who’s reluctant to leave her or him alone during the appointment, is domineering, or who answers all questions for the patient.
  • Changes in the patient’s routine (patient who used to come in for regular check-ups and who suddenly stops or who frequently comes late for appointments).
  • Low self-esteem.

Physical signs of sexual intimate partner abuse:

  • Reports of sexual abuse.
  • Not knowing what s/he wants or how s/he feels.
  • Blaming self or others for everything.5-8