What do dentists and crime scene investigators have in common? Both possess specialized knowledge that can help solve crime! While dentists like Dr. Cutting focus on restoring and maintaining the health of patient’s teeth, other dentists become forensic odontologists (also known as forensic dentists) and apply dental science to identify human remains and bite marks.
Why Is Forensic Dentistry Useful?
When you visit our team at Edgewater Dental Arts, we’ve probably told you about the importance of caring for your tooth enamel to help prevent cavities and tooth decay. Although tooth enamel can be damaged by bacteria and acid, it is the hardest surface in your body. Due to these protective qualities, human teeth tend to remain long after the rest of the body has decayed. They can withstand extreme temperature and extreme conditions to provide clues that linger long after death.
How Do Forensic Dentists Idenfity Bodies?
In order to identify a body, forensic dentists must have access to that person’s dental records. Then, they can compare the deceased person’s teeth with their X-rays and tooth chart from their dentist. Our teeth and their patterns of wear are so unique that forensic dentists are often able to establish a match even when working with just a few teeth.
If No Dental Records Exist, Can Forensic Dentists Still Identify Remains?
If no dental records exist, identifying the deceased becomes more difficult. However, forensic dentists can use things like gold crowns, missing teeth, and other distinctive dental qualities to help identify remains. Investigators can also extract pulp from the center of the tooth to get a sample of DNA.
Forensic dentistry is an important branch of dentistry that can help solve crime and reunite remains with loved ones. To learn more about how you can strengthen your tooth enamel to protect your teeth or to schedule your next visit to our office, contact us today!