|The uniqueness of a set of teeth is
a powerful tool in confirming the identity of someone unknown, especially
when a lack of DNA evidence is the case. You may be intrigued by the
number of clues an examination of teeth can provide.
Choose one of the topics below to learn more:
uses of dental matching
Uses Of Dental Matching
or in other words, forensic dentists, have the job of examining dental
evidence that is left behind after a crime has been committed. Teeth
are an excellent source of identification, as they hard wearing and
durable. With the ability to survive fires that destroy evidence,
burn human bones to ashes and melt copper and glass, teeth are able
to withstand criminal's attempts to hide the crimes they've committed
and the evidence held within the crime scene and dental analysis provides
a cost efficient alternative to solving a crime.
At the scene of the crime, odontologists collect the skull or remaining
teeth, which are taken back to the forensic laboratory for the postmortem
dental investigation. X-rays are taken and if the jaw is completely
intact and the dental records used to compare are recent, the job
of proving a match is a relatively simple one. Dentists mark on
a chart the position of missing teeth, crowns,
canals and various other treatments during a patient's routine
check-up. The task of identifying a victim is made more difficult
when the dentist records and x-rays are out of date or when the
skull is severely damaged and has parts missing.
|Where no dental x-rays
are found, full-face x-rays are sometimes used as an alternative record,
as the sinuses present above the nose have a unique shape in every
person and can be used in the accurate identification of a victim.
If no dental, face or x-ray records are present, the ability to make
decisions about the victim's identity is very restricted, but other
guidelines are useful. Some of these guidelines include the tooth
roots becoming more transparent in older people and the stage of development
of a child's teeth can determine their age. The teeth's pattern of
wear in adult's show the person's age, diet and the materials/dentistry
techniques used during dental treatment, which can point out the country
in which treatment was received.
Odontologists also play a vital role in the study of bite marks.
Human and animal teeth both leave conspicuous marks. In the flesh,
they leave behind noticeable bruises or puncture marks and in soft
foods, such as fruit, marks are also preserved. The distinctiveness
of the bite mark is used for the identification of the person. For
example, gaps or abnormalities present in the teeth of a suspect
are compared with the bite mark to see whether it is logical to
say that the suspect's teeth made the bite mark.
To be able to match a suspect with a bite mark, the mark is documented
using photographs and in the case of food containing the mark, it
is alcohol or other preserving agents such as glycerol
which are used to preserve the food. Then a record of the suspect's
teeth is acquired, where odontologists take an impression of the
teeth in silicon rubber. The impression left in the rubber is set
using plaster to make a replica of the gums and teeth and compared
with the samples. These photos and replicas are then compared with
the crime scene bite mark. The forensic odontologist simply gives
evidence as a witness to injuries caused by biting and it is the
method in which they choose to present evidence in court that convinces
a jury whether a suspect guilty or innocent.