Forensic Dentistry/Odontology

By: Jenny Kim

What is it?

It is using dental knowledge that can help obtain information in a crime scene.

What do they do?

The forensic dentist help in investigations to identify human remains such as teeth to identify the age and identification of who the teeth belong to.

Other evidence such as bite marks left on the victim can be crucial for these forensic dentist to evaluate so they can trace it back to a specific individual.

- Identify human remains by face recognition or fingerprints

- Identify the bodies in mass fatality

- Determine source of bite marks

- Estimate age

The Famous Bite mark Case!

A good example of where the forensic odontologist can be crucial in solving a crime scene is the famous case that took place January 15, 1978 where two women by the name of Lisa Levy and Martha Bowman were beaten to death with a wooden club and raped. The suspect is no where to be found and before he left he made sure to wipe the place down. No weapons, no good traces that leads back to the individual. An accurate reputation of a suspected victim by the name of Ted Bundy but no sure evidence made him the prime suspect. Investigating the girls body they find bite marks located on her breast as well as her buttock. The outline of the bite mark was taken as well a many photographs. Calling Ted Bundy in for a analysis to see if the outline of the bite match his teeth. Pictures of his upper and his lower teeth and gums. After finding how the pattern of his teeth and the bite mark on the victims body have accurately matched they took Ted Bundy in where he was sentenced to the electric chair.

Another example of the forensic odontologist will be needed is in a mass fatality such as a plane crash where identifying a victim could be difficult. Teeth samples are taken in to determine the age and who the individual could be.

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Academic Requirements-

- Obtain a Bachelors Degree.

(Requires strong science background)

- Required to pass a (DAT) Dental Admissions Test

- Must earn Doctor of Dental Science or (DDS)

or a (DMD) Doctor of Dental Medicine.

To become board certified

Forensic dentist will than need to work 25 cases, earn 350 qualification points by going to meeting and pass an exam.

How common in the Forensic field?

Forensic odontologist usually work as regular dentists most of the time. Such cases regarding the need of the forensic odontologist can happen at any time so they must be ready on-call and be able to work long hours.