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Forensic dentistry



Forensic science
Physiological sciences
Forensic pathology · Forensic dentistry
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Crime scene · CSI Effect
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Forensic dentistry or forensic odontology is the proper handling, examination and evaluation of dental evidence, which will be then presented in the interest of justice. The evidence that may be derived from teeth, is the age (in children) and identification of the person to whom the teeth belong. This is done using dental records or ante-mortem (prior to death) photographs.

Additional recommended knowledge

The other type of evidence is that of bite marks, left on either the victim (by the attacker), the perpetrator (from the victim of an attack), or on an object found at the crime scene. Bite marks are often found on children who are abused.

Forensic dentists are responsible for six main areas of practice:

  • Identification of found human remains
  • Identification in mass fatalities
  • Assessment of bite mark injuries
  • Assessment of cases of abuse (child, spousal, elder)
  • Civil cases involving malpractice
  • Age estimation

High-profile criminal cases

Forensic odontology has played a key role in famous criminal cases:

  • State of Florida v. Ted Bundy
  • State of New Jersey v. Jesse Timmendequas (Megan's Law case)
  • People of California v. Marx, the 1975 case which established evidentiary standards for forensic odontology
  • People of Arizona v. Ray Krone, bite mark evidence led to a wrongful conviction.

Criticism

Recently, the scientific foundation of forensic odontology, and especially bite mark comparison, has been called into question. A 1999 study by a member of the American Board of Forensic Odontology found a 63 percent rate of false identifications.[1] An investigative series by the Chicago Tribune entitled "Forensics under the Microscope" examined many forensic science disciplines to see if they truly deserve the air of infallibility that has come to surround them. The investigators concluded that bite mark comparison is always subjective and no standards for comparison have been accepted across the field. The journalists discovered that no rigorous experimentation has been conducted to determine error rates for bite mark comparison, a key part of the scientific method. Critics of bite mark comparison cite the case of Ray Krone, an Arizona man convicted of murder on bite mark evidence left on a woman's breast. DNA evidence later implicated another man and Krone was released from prison.[2] Similarly, Roy Brown was convicted of murder due in part to bite-mark evidence, and freed after DNA testing of the saliva left in the bite wounds matched someone else.[1]

Notes

  1. ^ a b Evidence From Bite Marks, It Turns Out, Is Not So Elementary. New York Times; January 28, 2007
  2. ^ Bite-mark verdict faces new scrutiny. Chicago Tribune; November 29, 2004
 
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Forensic_dentistry". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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