Forensic Dentistry

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Forensic Dentistry is used as a major part in solving cases where people are unidentifiable. Forensic evidence is any evidence that can be legally used in a court of law. Many people know what forensics are because of shows such as Bones, Criminal Minds, and Without a Trace. What most people don’t know are the minor details that have to be sought out when using any forensics to solve a case. Odontology; commonly referred to as dental forensics is highly unrecognized by the general population and can be very useful in forensic science. In forensic science odontology is used to identify the unknown in many unique situations, and can act as evidence in the court of law. Even though most people don’t know about the growing scientific art Odontology, the history goes back decades. Dental forensics began around 66 A.D., although the study wasn’t as useful as today’s due to the lack of technology it was still useful to those who chose to use it. During World War II the study of Odontology was used to identify both Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun. Odontology isn’t a specific job on its own; it is studied by dentists, hygienists and other forms of specialists who have correct knowledge about the oral cavity. These citizens work together using the technology created to help in the identification of the deceased. Two common technological systems that are important in finding the records needed in Odontology are the panto morphograph registry and CAPMI (Computerized Assisted Postmortem Identification System). CAPMI was developed by the U.S. Army Dental Research institute. Many other kinds of databases have been created to help aid in the study of Dental forensics. Together the knowledge of those who choose to study the oral cavity, and the people dedicated to help broaden today’s dental databases has changed the outlook on what can possibly be achieved in the future. Forensic Dentists are responsible for identifying human remains and assess bite mark on the human body. The forensic dentist is to determine age, whether it be the age of an unidentified living individual or the age of the deceased. The only two methods that are used more commonly in the identification process are fingerprint and DNA evidence. When these two means of identification cannot be found, investigators rely on dental records and evidence to back up their case. Teeth are very durable and strongly resistant to deterioration or harm, due to their hard outer shell known as enamel. Far after decomposition has ended. The oral cavity can be used as evidence, because no one person can have the same dental work and dental structure as another. Generally adults may have up to 32 teeth present in their oral cavity, but a child’s mouth can only accommodate 20 teeth total. When a body is found an odontologist can look at the tooth development to determine the John or Jane doe’s age. Using dental forensics to determine an age can be extremely accurate. As age increases, the means to identification vary from person to person. The age of a teenager can be estimated by looking at the third molars, when these teeth come into the mouth at an age ranging from 17 to 25 years old. Determining the age of an adolescent can be precise because the oral cavity is somewhat at a standstill. When odontology is used to determine the age of an adult or someone referred to as elderly, the age estimation may not be as accurate. After all of the adult teeth have grown in, the oral cavity goes through slight changes. As someone gets older their gum tissues soften and their teeth usually become more mobile as the ligaments attaching the teeth grow weak. This alone is not an accurate indication as to how old an adult is because every adult uses and takes care of their teeth in a different manner. Forensic dentists use previously taken FMX (full mouth set of x-rays) and BWX (bitewing x-rays), along with dental records to figure out a subjects identity. When new x-rays are taken, the forensic dentist can...
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