Odontology

By: Carla Linde-Garelli

General Info

Years in School: 4 - 8

Job Outlook: Excellent

Salary: $150,000 - $185,000

Becoming a Forensic Dentist

Getting a Doctor of Dental Surgery or Doctor of Medical Dentistry degree is basic to becoming a Forensic Dentist. Simply having a traditional dental education doesn't give you enough knowledge or experience required to succeed in this field.

Odontology Overview

Forensic dentistry (odontology) is an important part of forensic science involving using your knowledge of dentistry, mainly to identify human remains. An odontologist work consists of

  • comparing remains with dental records

  • comparing dental records

  • evaluating animal or human bite marks

  • comparing bite marks with suspect dentitions

  • analyzing the aging of individuals through their dentition to find chronological age in anyone living or deceased

  • evaluating peoples dental or oral injuries to resolve civil or criminal matters

  • fixing dental malpractices

All tasks above use evaluation, report writing, and/or court testimony.

Working Conditions

Forensic odontologists typically work as regular dentists who do forensic examinations as needed at the request of local law enforcement or a medical examiner.

In the case of death, the forensic odontologist can go to the scene of the crime. Other then that measurements and x-rays are taken when the autopsy done.