Clinical and Experimental Psychology

Forensic Odontology Open Access Articles

Forensic dentistry or forensic odontology is the application of dental knowledge to those criminal and civil laws that are enforced by police agencies in a criminal justice system. Forensic dentists are involved in assisting investigative agencies to identify recovered human remains in addition to the identification of whole or fragmented bodies forensic dentists may also be asked to assist in determining age, race, occupation, previous dental history and socioeconomic status of unidentified human beings. Forensic dentistry 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 including radiographs, ante-mortem (prior to death) and post-mortem (after death) photographs and DNA. "Forensic odontology" is derived from Latin, meaning a forum or where legal matters are discussed. 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.[citation needed. Forensic odontology is the study of dental applications in legal proceedings. The subject covers a wide variety of topics including individual identification, mass identification, and bite mark analysis. The study of odontology in a legal case can be a piece of incriminating evidence or an aspect of wide controversy. There has been many cases throughout history which have made use of bite marks as evidence. Bite marks are usually seen in cases involving sexual assault, murder, and child abuse and can be a major factor in leading to a conviction. Biting is often a sign of the perpetrator seeking to degrade the victim while also achieving complete domination. Bite marks can be found anywhere on a body, particularly on soft, fleshy tissue such as the stomach or buttocks. In addition, bite marks can be found on objects present at the scene of a crime. Bite marks are commonly found on a suspect when a victim attempts to defend him/herself.

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