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Careers In Forensics - Forensic Dentistry
Home Family Careers
By: Carrie Westengate Email Article
Word Count: 421 Digg it | it | Google it | StumbleUpon it


One forensics area where you can specialize might be forensic dentistry. A forensic odontologist or dentist, like other areas of forensics, actively works to help support law enforcement agencies solve crime and to give specialist testimony in the court. A forensic odontologist are usually necessary to aid in the identification of individual human remains, mass body fatalities or in helping to solve cases of abuse for example.

Forensic dentistry is not new and has been in use since 1870. However, the first published case was in 1954 in Texas where the bite marks on a bit of cheese was used to indicate that the suspect was at a particular scene. Bite mark comparisons play a large part in the life of a forensic odontologist and bite marks can be located on any part of the body as well as on objects.

Teeth can reveal a lot of information, including an individual's DNA. An individual's teeth might help reveal someone's age as well as their identity in addition to whether they are responsible for bite marks on a body. Dental records can also be matched to post-mortem photographs but the analysis of bite marks is not without a few critics.

The reason being that bite marks may change over time and is influenced by where on the body the bite is, whether or not the victim is living or deceased and whether there is some other tissue damage. There are also problems associated with similarities in dentition between individuals. For this reason great care needs to be taken in forensic dentistry when recording evidence, for example, taking photographs, measurements or impressions. As well as photographs, one method involves dusting a bite mark with fingerprint powder, using tape to lift the print and then transferring this impression onto acetate. However, this latter method not suggested to be very reliable and can be subjective given it is traced by hand and can be achieved badly or altered. Photocopies and photographs are usually more reliable.

Recently, photocopies are now being replaced with digital techniques including the 2D polyline method which are regarded as more reliable. This process uses software including Adobe Photoshop, and straight lines are drawn between certain points to discover exact measurements. Or, a model may be painted in and measurements taken using thirteen different parameters.

In order to pursue the life of a forensic odontologist in forensic dentistry, you have to have dental qualifications and in addition, further experience and/or qualifications in forensic sciences.

If you would like to find out more info on careers in forensics, visit our specific website at

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