Forensic Dentistry and Crime

forensic dentistry

If you think that our teeth are only used in chewing food and improving our smile, then you are wrong. Teeth can also be used in catching criminals and outlaws. Each human being has a unique arrangement, alignment and size of teeth which can be used to identify them at a crime scene utilizing forensic dentistry.

What is Forensic Dentistry?

Forensic dentistry involves the application of knowledge of to aid law enforcement agencies in the identification of criminals and victims. It involves proper handling, analysis and evaluation of pertinent evidence that may then be used in a court of law to convict criminals.

How Forensic Dentistry Works?

Identification of the criminals and victims is done by extracting information from the following sources:

  • Dental Radiograph – pre and postmortem radiographs are highly useful in the identification of individuals.
  • Photographs – photographs of the deceased individuals are instrumental in the identification process
  • DNA – DNA of an individual can be obtained from all the oral tissues, such as the oral mucosa, gums and the teeth. Even the DNA from the hair can also be used.

What Information Does Forensic Dentistry Provide?

At the crime scene dental forensic experts analyze the available evidence, from which they are able to extract the following evidence:

  • Sex of the Individual – since there is difference in the size and anatomy of the male and female teeth, therefore forensic dentists can easily tell whether the victim was a male or female. Also bite marks on the victims can provide insight into the sex of their attacker/criminal.
  • Age – forensic experts can also identify the approximate age of the individual by looking at the available dental evidence.
  • Ethnicity – the anatomy, size and shape of teeth differ in various ethnic groups. As a result, this information can be used to identify the ethnicity of an individual.
  • Habits – valuable information regarding the criminals can also be extracted by having a look at their teeth. For example, if the biting surfaces of the teeth have been eroded, the individual has a habit of excessive teeth grinding. Also, tobacco stains on teeth can tell whether the individual is a smoker or not.

In what Cases is Forensic Dentistry Helpful?

Forensic dentistry is helpful in the following cases:

  • Conviction of a suspect through the legal system
  • Identification of individuals whose bodies cannot be identified, either due to bomb blast, burning or an accident
  • Identification and conviction of sexual assault victims
  • Estimation of age of a criminal to assess whether he or she is a minor or an adult

How to Become a Forensic Dentist?

To become a forensic dentist, you first need to be a qualified and board certified dentist. Afterwards, you need to acquire specialized training in forensic dentistry, and pass board specialization examination to become forensic dentists.
This forensic dentistry information was written by a dentist. You should always consult your own dental provider when making decisions about your dental health. The owners of this domain are not medical professionals to offer any medical advise. Find a dental provider in the United States at and get your dental needs at a discounted rate.

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