Forensic science is most simply defined as the science that is applied to the law. Criminal cases many times call for the examination of evidence that can tie a suspect or victim to a crime scene or to one another. These physical traces frequently include blood and other bodily fluids, hair, fibers, and even bite marks. Here we will focus our attention to the latter, as it applies to the field of forensic science referred to forensic odontology or forensic dentistry.
Forensic odontology is the field of forensic science dealing with the recognition of unique attributes present in each individual's dental composition. This branch of forensics relies heavily on extensive and detailed knowledge of the teeth, jaws, and dental anatomy possessed by a dentist. In addition to this knowledge, the forensic dentist must be well-versed in the interpretations of radiographs, pathology, charting, and types of dental treatment. The forensic dentist is dutifully responsible for the proper handling, assessment, and evaluation of dental evidence in the name of justice. He/She is the key to identification based upon the distinctive features present in the dental structures of each individual.
Identification of deceased individuals who cannot be identified by other means, identification of human remains, identification of victims in mass fatalities, assessment of bite mark patterns, and age estimation using teeth are all part of the role of forensic odontologists as well. Other duties include evidence collection and examination in cases of child abuse, spousal abuse, and malpractice. Identification of an assailant by comparing a record of their dentition (set of teeth) with a record of a bite mark left on a victim and the presentation of bite mark evidence in court as an expert witness are also done as part of the job.
Bite mark comparison is one of the major and newer parts of this forensic discipline that has been evolving since the 1970s. Investigators noticed...
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