This paper is a good overview of the forensic dentist’s job – covering the major aspects of what is required, the source materials and the analysis that is undertaken. Written for a general dental practice audience the authors cover the essential elements.
Dentistry has much to offer law enforcement in the detection and solution of crime or in civil proceedings. Forensic dental fieldwork requires an interdisciplinary knowledge of dental science. Most often the role of the forensic odontologist is to establish a person’s identity. Teeth, with their physiologic variations, pathoses and effects of therapy, record information that remains throughout life and beyond. The teeth may also be used as weapons and, under certain circumstances, may leave information about the identity of the biter. Forensic odontology has an important role in the recognition of abuse among persons of all ages. Dental professionals have a major role to play in keeping accurate dental records and providing all necessary information so that legal authorities may recognize malpractice, negligence, fraud or abuse, and identify unknown humans.