Intraoral Scanners in Personal Identification of Corpses: Usefulness and Reliability of 3D Technologies in Modern Forensic Dentistry

Alessandra Putrino1, *, Valerio Bruti2, Marinelli Enrico2, Ciallella Costantino2, Barbato Ersilia1, Galluccio Gabriella1
1 Unit of Orthodontics, Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Sciences, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy
2 Department of Anatomical, Histological, Forensic and Orthopaedic Sciences, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy

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© 2020 Putrino et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: ( This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the, Unit of Orthodontics, Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Sciences, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy; Tel: 00393205321465; E-mail:



This study aims to verify the applicability of modern dental technologies and their related principles of use to the forensic sciences in the field of personal identification.


Personal identification has always had a major role in many legal and administrative actions regarding both living and death beings. The techniques used are much less advanced than the technologies potentially available.


Modern technologies, available to the daily dental clinic practice, as intraoral scanners, combined in particular to the specialist skill in orthodontics, can help redefine the methods of personal identification according to the levels of accuracy, trueness and feasibility greater than those applied in traditional forensic dentistry.


23 corpses (12F;11M) have been selected for intraoral scanning with the Carestream 3500® digital device. The superimposition of initial and late digital models, digital models and radiographs (orthopantomography and full mouth periapical films) has been evaluated to verify the stability of some structures as palatal rugae after death and to assess intraoral scanning as a successful comparative method between antemortem and post-mortem records (digital models or radiographs). Obtained results were subjected to statistical analysis by the t-student test and X-square test with Yates correction (p<0.05).


After death, palatal rugae significatively change especially in mouths with restorations/prosthesis/missing teeth. The percentages of correct matching between scans and radiographs are very higher (up 90%; p<0.05).


This study has been set up to study and develop new, reliable and fast methods of personal identification that can surpass many of the issues seen with the other techniques by a modern rugoscopy, a modern radiographic-digital comparison and virtual oral autopsy.

Keywords: Intraoral scanners, 3D technologies, Oral autopsy, Radiographs, Personal identification, Modern forensic science.