Associated postmortem dental findings as an aid to personal identification

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The use of the unique features of the human dentition to aid in personal identification is well accepted within the forensic field. Indeed, despite advances in DNA and other identification methodologies, comparative dental identifications still play a major role in identifying the victims of violence, disaster or other misfortune. The classic comparative dental identification employs the use of postmortem and antemortem dental records (principally written notes and radiographs) to determine similarities and exclude discrepancies. In many cases the tentative identification of the individual is unknown and therefore antemortem records cannot be located. In such a situation a dental profile of the individual is developed to aid the search for the individual's identity. With such a profile a forensic odontologist can identify and report indicators for age at time of death, race (within the four major ethnic groups) and sex. In addition to these parameters the forensic dentist may be able to give more insight into the individual. This paper outlines, for the non-expert, some of the additional personal information that can be derived from the teeth of the deceased, and which may assist in their ultimate identification.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-74
Number of pages9
JournalScience and Justice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2002