Dental Evidence in Forensic Identification – An Overview, Methodology and Present Status
Kewal Krishan 1, *, Tanuj Kanchan 2, Arun K Garg 3
Identifiers and Pagination:Year: 2015
First Page: 250
Last Page: 256
Publisher Id: TODENTJ-9-250
Article History:Received Date: 30/12/2014
Revision Received Date: 15/5/2015
Acceptance Date: 1/6/2015
Electronic publication date: 31/7/2015
Collection year: 2015
open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/) which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.
Forensic odontology is primarily concerned with the use of teeth and oral structures for identification in a legal context. Various forensic odontology techniques help in the identification of the human remains in incidents such as terrorists’ attacks, airplane, train and road accidents, fires, mass murders, and natural disasters such as tsunamis, earth quakes and floods, etc. (Disaster Victim Identification-DVI). Dental structures are the hardest and well protected structures in the body. These structures resist decomposition and high temperatures and are among the last ones to disintegrate after death. The principal basis of the dental identification lies in the fact that no two oral cavities are alike and the teeth are unique to an individual. The dental evidence of the deceased recovered from the scene of crime/occurrence is compared with the ante-mortem records for identification. Dental features such as tooth morphology, variations in shape and size, restorations, pathologies, missing tooth, wear patterns, crowding of the teeth, colour and position of the tooth, rotations and other peculiar dental anomalies give every individual a unique identity. In absence of ante-mortem dental records for comparison, the teeth can help in the determination of age, sex, race/ethnicity, habits, occupations, etc. which can give further clues regarding the identity of the individuals. This piece of writing gives an overview of dental evidence, its use in forensic identification and its limitations.