Forensic Odontology: A Complete Overview


Forensic Odontology is the application of dental science to the administration of the law and the furtherance of justice. It is the application of principles and expertise of dentistry for the law and criminal investigation. It is the branch of dentistry that deals with the proper handling, examination, and evaluation of dental evidence and with the proper presentation of dental findings in the interest of justice. It provides an important community service in both the civil and criminal jurisdictions. Forensic dental services are of value both in death investigations and clinical forensic medicine for the evaluation of living victims of sexual assaults, child abuse, and other domestic violence cases.

The main aspects of forensic odontology include:

● Dental identification

● Age estimation

● Sex determination

● Role in mass disaster

● Role in domestic violence, abuse, and neglect

● Identification of bite marks

● Blood group determination

History Of Forensic Odontology

● The history of forensic dentistry is not too old, since this piece of evidence remains untouched for many years.

● In 1692 Salim witch trials first reported the incidence of bite marks identification.

● In 1837 Dr. Edwin Saunders established the eruption sequence.

● In 1897 Dr. Oscar Amoedo (father of forensic odontology) wrote the first book of forensic dentistry.

● In the revolutionary war, Paul Revere was the first forensic dentist in the United States because he identified fallen revolutionary soldiers.

● Elaborate dental records including radiographs and spare crowns identified the body of Adolf Hitler.

● Hitler’s teeth were structurally bad and he was suffering from many diseases in his teeth and only five teeth were properly functional.

● Hitler has committed suicide with his wife but there was no certain proof. Later the suspected body of Hitler was identified and examined. Based on his dentition it was confirmed that the deceased person is Hitler.

Qualification And Responsibility Of Forensic Odontologist

● A forensic odontologist is also known as a forensic dentist.

● An ideal forensic odontologist must be highly educated in forensic dentistry.

● He should be properly trained under the guidance of government authorities and must have published some research work that highlights his education and training.

● He must have experience working in an association that is closely related to forensic odontology practice on regular basis.

● An ideal forensic dentist must be dedicated to his career and profession.

● He must be an honest person.

● He must take all the professional challenges faced in his life seriously.

● He must not have any idea about the results of the examination. He must carry examination with an open mind.

● He should collect both positive and negative results seriously. He must not be emotional or sentimental towards the victim.

● He should follow all the procedures and scientific techniques in his analysis given by the relevant scientific community.

● He must be interactive in speech so that he can present himself in the court of law and inform the jury about the various tools used in his analysis.

● He must be smart enough to use the latest techniques in the production of his results.

● He must be a man of science. He should not believe in supernatural powers during his study and analysis.

● He should make conclusions based on scientific and logical reasoning not on assumptions and fake theories.

● He should simply make his reports so that the jury can get his point of view correctly.

A dental expert can contribute to a forensic investigation in many ways, such as:

● Comparing dental remains with dental records.

● Comparing dental records.

● Evaluating bite marks.

● Aging of an individual.

● Evaluation of dental or other oral injuries.

About The Author

Anuwanshi sharma is a researcher in field of forensic science. She also contributes to various forensic websites as a guest writer.

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