Forensic Odontology in the Identification of Victims


Dentistry is a peer-reviewed medical journal that publishes articles in a variety of fields, including endodontics, orthodontics, dental implants, prosthodontics, restorative dentistry, oral and maxillofacial surgery, periodontics, forensic dentistry, digital dentistry, and minimal intervention dentistry, among others, and provides a platform for authors to contribute to the journal. Peer review of the submitted articles is guaranteed by the editorial office to ensure high-quality publication.

Every year, millions of people are killed by natural (earthquake, drought, and tsunami) and man-made (terrorism/homicides/suicide bombing) disasters. Such traumatic occurrences may result in a large number of unidentified victims, which is when forensic science's methods are used to identify them. The most common procedures are physical identification of bodies/corpses, fingerprinting, dental comparison, and Deoxyribonucleic acid analysis. When physical identification and fingerprinting aren't possible, one of the most reliable and extensively used methods of identification is dental identification, which is based on comparing ante-mortem and post-mortem records. Forensic Odontology is a unique field that deals with evidence from dental and oral structures. Forensic dentistry, also known as forensic odontology, is the practice of dentists assisting and participating in legal and criminal cases. It relates to the proper treatment, examination, and appraisal of dental evidence before it is presented for legal purposes. Teeth can be used to determine the age (in children) and identity of the individual whose teeth they belong to. Dental records or ante-mortem (before to death) images are used for this. A forensic odontology report also lays out the results of a comparison of antemortem and postmortem evidence, as well as the odonatologist’s assessment of the identification.

In forensic casework, bite mark analysis is critical for personal identification. Bite marks can be found in a variety of violent crimes, including sexual assaults, killings, child abuse cases, and sporting events. Each person's teeth are unique in terms of arrangement, size, and alignment. Depending on dental arrangement, malocclusion, habits, occupation, tooth fracture, and missing or extra teeth, teeth leave distinctive markings. The distinctiveness of a dentition is utilised to connect a bite mark to a suspect in bite mark identification. In forensic examinations, bite marks are frequently regarded a helpful alternative to fingerprinting and DNA identification. Missing teeth, misshapen teeth, fractures, crowding, diastema, and other unusual dental traits can aid in the comparison of these distinctive qualities. Palatal rugae (Plica palatine) are asymmetrical anatomical folds that run behind the incisive papillae on the anterior portion of the palate. These are believed to become one, and their morphology remains constant throughout life, nevertheless, their size changes as the palate grows and develops. The palatal rugae are surrounded by the cheek, lips, tongue, teeth, and a buccal pad of fat in their anatomical position inside the mouth cavity. All of this provides some protection in the event of a fire or a high-impact trauma. Rugae are among the best-protected, morphologically individualising soft tissue structures in the body, preserved both after death and during life. Several studies have been published that support the use of palatal rugae in individual identification.