The Importance Of Forensic Odontology

914 Words4 Pages
Forensic Odontology is becoming a more ubiquitous method of human identification following gruesome deaths, disasters, and crimes. Usually, the first step in Forensic Odontology is the comparison of antemortem (before death) dental records and postmortem (after death) dental records (Source 1). Antemortem dental records are useful to match the victim with the cadaver; for instance, if a known person is missing and a body is found, forensic odontologists are able to examine the dental status of the cadaver and analyze any possible correlations to the dental conditions of the victim before death. Victims will not always have clear, accessible dental profiles. In that case, analysis begins with the observations of the cadaver to make identity…show more content…
As opposed to soft tissues, like the skin, teeth remain “recognizable” postmortem, enabling for forensic odontologists to perform comparative identification (Source 1). Most of the technology employed in Forensic Odontology lies in typical antemortem dentistry practices, such as periapical x-rays, which show images of the teeth from the exposed crown to the end of the root (WebMD). Another piece of technology that allows for the visualization of teeth is Cone-beam computer tomography (CBCT), which rotates around the patient to form three-dimensional images and capture abnormal teeth, dental trauma, etc., (FDA) . If a patient has received dental treatment prior to death, then it is much easier to trace their identity and form a parallel between premortem and postmortem observations. If not, forensic odontologists start from scratch and utilize techniques to reveal information about the…show more content…
Age is a factor that can be deduced by the growth of teeth and jaws (pdfs) . A child will have a smaller sized jaw and smaller teeth than a matured adult. The teeth and jaw of an elderly person will be deteriorated and corroded compared to the teeth and jaw of a standard, healthy young adult. X-rays and atlas techniques are particularly useful to evaluate the stages of tooth development and tooth degeneration. Age at the time of death for adults is made on the basis of the deterioration of the pulp chamber, cementum on a tooth’s surface, losses of the alveolar bone, etc. (pdfs). Age at the time of death for children is made on the basis of dental eruption and expected stages in hard tissue formation. Scientists, such as Lamendin, have created formulas to estimate the age of deceased adults. Lamendin’s formula, though proven to be flawed by Prince and Ubelaker, was based upon periodontosis and translucency of the tooth’s root (pdfs). Periodontosis was a diagnosis previously used to describe a degenerative disease in a younger population (Medical dictionary). Prince and Ubelaker built upon Lamendin’s technique in order to improve accuracy and soundness; they increased the precision of age estimations by making formulas specific to each sex and ancestry (ncbi). Additionally, dental profiling allows for

More about The Importance Of Forensic Odontology

Open Document